Masit: It's illegal to allow new evidence

IEBC Commissioners Justus Nyangaya and Irene Masit during IEBC press briefing in Bomas on August 4, 2022. [Esther Jeruto, Standard]

Electoral agency commissioner Irene Masit has filed a preliminary objection against the tribunal investigating her and three others over the August 9 presidential elections.

She argues that the tribunal lacks jurisdiction to conduct the process.

Masit, through her lawyer Donald Korir, Wednesday accused the tribunal of allowing new evidence, which had not been introduced when the parliamentary Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs was handling the matter.

The complaint follows claims that Masit, former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) vice chair Juliana Cherera, and commissioners Justus Nyangaya and Francis Wanderi met Azimio la Umoja leaders at the Yaya Apartments, where they were booked after their press conference on August 15.

But Masit argues that by changing the character, details and evidence of the prior petitions presented through Parliament, the tribunal violated Article 50 of the Constitution and Section Four of the Fair Administrative Action Act.

“The tribunal is introducing evidence that wasn’t referred to or evidenced at all in the original petitions. It is relying on evidence illegally obtained in blatant violation of the Constitution,” argues Masit.

“In a cynical move, the tribunal obtained what is purported to be the third respondent's entry into a public hotel as though entering into such a facility is criminal or nefarious. Such insinuations violate the Constitution,” she added.

She also points out that Tharaka MP Gitonga Murugara, who chairs the parliamentary committee, was part of the legal team that represented President William Ruto's UDA party.

“…he never disclosed this part and thus the Departmental Committee's findings were tainted with bias, irrationality and impartiality in contravention of Section 7 of The Fair Administrative Action Act and Section 50 (1) of the Constitution.”

The commissioner faulted the urgency to expedite the matter. “The Constitution doesn't give a Christmas deadline. The urgency of the tribunal to beat an unknown deadline is evidence of a pre-determined conclusion thus negating the bona fide of the tribunal.”