IEBC Commissioner Irene Masit claims tribunal probing 'Cherera Four' biased

IEBC Commissioner Irene Masit during a media briefing at Bomas of Kenya. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

IEBC Commissioner Irene Masit has objected to the ongoing petition of removal from office of four electoral commissioners, citing bias.

Masit, through her lawyer Donald Kipkorir wants the proceedings nullified on grounds of constitutionality, bias, political motive, and procedural impropriety.

In court documents seen by The Standard, her lawyer argued that the tribunal formed to investigate the 'Cherera four' is proceeding on a trial that lacks a strong base, claiming that it [tribunal] has already formed a pre-determined outcome.

"The entire process is a legal charade from inception to date and shows a disdain of the Constitution, Standing Orders, and established law," lawyer Kipkorir said.

The lawyer argues that original petitions filed against commissioners Masit, Juliana Cherera, Justus Nyang'aya, and Francis Wanderi lacked supporting evidence and as such contravene sections 107, 108, of The Evidence Act, and Article 50(2) (b) of the Constitution.

"In building up and beefing the petition from its original character, both the Departmental Committee and this tribunal ceased being impartial as they have actively taken over the petition from the petitioners in contravention of Article 50(1) of the Constitution and Section 7 of the Fair Administrative Action Act," Kipkorir said.

He further claims that the Justice Aggrey Muchelule-led tribunal is relying on illegally obtained evidence

"In a cynical move, the tribunal obtained what is purported to be the third respondent's [Masit's] entry into a public hotel as though entering into a such facility is criminal."

Masit, one of the 'Cherera Four' commissioners remaining in the electoral agency earlier in the week alleged being threatened, owing to her official vehicle, driver, and bodyguard being withdrawn.

But Judge Muchelule said Masit should be allowed to enjoy all privileges entitled to her office until the tribunal delivers its verdict, saying allegations regarding alleged pressure on her to resign will be treated as rumours.

"This tribunal treats allegations raised by advocate Donald Kipkorir as rumours since he has not come out clearly to demonstrate who is pressurising Masit to resign. However, she should be allowed to enjoy all privileges entitled to her until the verdict of this process is out," said Muchelule.

Three other IEBC commissioners; Cherera, Wanderi, and Nyang'aya have since resigned from the commission.

The tribunal will commence hearings on December 20, 2022.