Court dismisses former commissioner Irene Masit bid to have CDF Ogola, Ogeto and Kinyua on her case challenging ouster

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

High Court in Nairobi has dismissed former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) commissioner Irene Masit to have Chief of Defense Forces (CDF) Francis Omondi Ogolla as a party of her case challenging ouster.

Masit had also asked Justice Lawrence Mugambi to order former Head of Civil Service Francis Kinyua and Solicitor General Ken Ogeto to be enjoined in the case.

However, Justice Mugambi said that Masit did not prove what stake the three senior government officials had in her case against Court of Appeal judge Aggrey Muchelule-led tribunal.

He observed that although she had said that the names of the three had been mentioned by her former colleagues in the Bomas of Kenya saga, she did not clear out what they were to do in the case.

According to her, Ogola, Ogeto and Kinyua ought to address the court on the allegation that they tried to influence the August 9, 2022 Presidential election results outcome.

Nevertheless, the judge said her application was not merited as the claim was not from the three.

“It is evident from the petitioner’s own deposition that the reference of influence was not made by the three named person she wants to join these proceedings. On what basis would one proceed to join them “in order to address the court on the extent of the alleged role”?” paused Justice Mugambi.

He said that her move was meant to engage the court in a speculative and unproductive action.

According to the judge, Masit had not also proved how the orders she was seeking against the commission would affect the three.

“The upshot is that the application is dismissed with costs in the cause,” he ruled.

In her case, Masit said that the commission appointed by President William Ruto had a pre-determined outcome.

According to her, it was impossible for the team to give her a fair hearing as those appointed were politically linked to the Kenya Kwanza regime.

She also argued that the claims filed by her accusers could not be substantiated and the evidence that was used to support her ouster was illegally obtained.

Masit maintained that she had no role in influencing the August election. Instead, she said, the former IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati had assigned her roles outside the tallying area.

She accused the government of witch hunt, stating that her fallout with her colleagues and the government was instigated by lies and unfounded rumors.

According to her, all the persons who had been mentioned in the Bomas saga were never called to either corroborate or deny whether she was a part of those who allegedly sought to overturn Dr Ruto’s win.

The tribunal found that there was evidence to prove 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.

Former IEBC Vice Chairperson Juliana Cherera, former commissioners Justus Nyangaya and Francis Wanderi resigned before the tribunal commenced its work.

The tribunal however found 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.

It recommended her removal from office.

Masit wants the High Court to overturn the decision.