Tribunal recommends removal of IEBC commissioner Irene Masit

Commissioner Irene Masit during the proceedings at Justice Aggrey Muchelule Tribunal held at KICD on January 23, 2023. [Silas Otieno, Standard]

Tribunal probing Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission commissioner Irene Masit has recommended her removal from office.

In a report on Monday, tribunal chairperson Justice Aggrey Muchelule said the tribunal proved beyond reasonable doubt, allegations of gross misconduct against Masit.

"This Tribunal recommends to the President, pursuant to the mandate assigned vide Gazette Notice No. 14890 of 2nd December 2022, and further in accordance and in compliance with Article 251(1) and (6), that Commissioner Irene Cherop Masit be removed from office as a member of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission," read Muchelule's statement.

The suspended commissioner is the only one left in the IEBC after former chairman Chebukati, former commissioners Guliye and Molu exited following the end of their six year term.

Former IEBC Vice Chairperson Juliana Cherera, former commissioners Justus Nyangaya and Francis Wanderi who were also expected to appear before the tribunal, resigned before it commenced.

The tribunal finds that Masit, together with Cherera, Nyangaya and Wanderi, violated the constitution during the August 2022 election period.

"The actions by the Commissioners to proceed to Serena to issue the presser to disown the result that she had participated in tallying and verifying were intended to undermine and erode public trust in the commission and to the result. In our considered view, these actions amounted to gross misconduct," said the tribunal.

In her final submissions to the tribunal, Masit, through lawyer Donald Kipkorir, made a last-ditch attempt to convince the tribunal to acquit her of all charges against her.

She raised fundamental errors made by the tribunal during the probe, arguing that there was no evidence produced to show her culpability and gross misconduct in the August 2022 presidential polls.

"The witnesses basically relied on the affidavit of Wafula Chebukati and what they purportedly saw on TV," lawyer Kipkorir said.

Kipkorir said the tribunal mixed up its mandate and become inquisitorial and the proceedings turned out to be civil and not criminal proceedings.

Additional reporting; Grace Ng'ang'a