Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya presidential candidate in the August 2022 General Election Raila Odinga has come to the defence of four commissioners of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
The IEBC commissioners, dubbed the Cherera Four, are vice-chairperson Juliana Cherera, Francis Mathenge, Irene Masit and Justus Nyang’aya.
Azimio’s top leadership, Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Martha Karua, were in the chambers where the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee of the National Assembly began hearing petitions filed against the IEBC Commissioners.
Odinga who had on Wednesday cancelled his press conference addressed the media on Thursday, November 24, a few hours after leaving the County Hall in Nairobi.
He cried foul over a plot to oust the four commissioners.
“A process whose outcome is pre-determined is already underway at the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee of the National Assembly. The four Commissioners are supposed to appear before this Committee, be found guilty and be made to appear before a tribunal to be set up by [President] Ruto that will confirm their guilt. They will then be thrown out of IEBC,” said Odinga.
According to Odinga, the ouster process has kicked off while an existing petition in the National Assembly to remove IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati has not been tabled.
“A petition by Mr Milton Nyakundi Oriku dated 19th September 2022 against the three - Chebukati, Guliye and Molu - was received at the Main Records Unit of the Senate on 28th September 2022. To date, it has not been tabled before the Senate,” said Odinga.
“Another petition dated 17th October 2022 was received at the National Assembly’s Main Records Unit on 25th October 2022. To date, that petition has not been brought before the National Assembly even as the same institution begins to grill Ms Cherera and her colleagues,” he added
The former Prime Minister also noted that the petition against the four commissioners has other motives.
Odinga was accompanied by his former running-mate Martha Karua, who also criticised President William Ruto.
“He [Ruto] is acting outside of the law. The commission act clearly says six months to the end of the term of the chairperson of IEBC, a selection panel must be formed to start the journey of finding the new chair. Chebukati’s term ends in January, and instead of forming a selection panel, William Ruto is busy trying to have the act amended so that he can have a selection panel that will create a commission after his own heart,” said Karua.
Karua noted that Ruto should, instead, form a panel to select a new IEBC Chairperson.
“Chebukati, Guliye and Molu should already be on terminal leave. We will not tire to remind Kenyans that if we drop our vigilance, we are in for a ruthless dictator than we have ever seen,” said Karua.
She called for the establishment of another selection panel to replace the other commissioners.