JLAC declines to grant Cherera more time to prepare for petition

Lawyer Apollo Mboya. [Elvis Ogina,Standard]

The National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) has declined to grant Independent Election and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Vice Chair Juliana Cherera 10 days to prepare for her ouster petition.

Through her lawyer Apollo Mboya, Cherera told JLAC on Monday, November 2022 that the National Assembly had yet to provide her with critical documents she needed to prepare for the hearing of her ouster petition.

"Part of the requested documents included petition received by the National Assembly main records unit on the removal of current commissioners of IEBC," said Mboya.

The petitions by the Republican Liberty Party, Rev Dennis Thumbi, Geoffrey Langat and Steve Owuor accuse Juliana Cherera, commissioners Irine Masit, Justus Nyangaya and Francis Wanderi of alleged violation of the Constitution.

The four are also accused of gross misconduct and incompetence during elections.

"The petitioners presented their petition between November 24 and 25 2022.I invite the committee to look at Article 50 of the Constitution of fair hearing, which requires adequate time and facilities to prepare a response. The minimum that any person is allowed [to respond to a petition] is 14 days. I am asking for 10 days," Mboya told the committee.

The committee, however, declined to extend the deadline and instead gave Cherera until Tuesday, November 29 to do so.

During the hearings, Cherera recanted her statement on suitability of the National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) to hear her ouster petition.

"Juliana Cherera addressed this committee on the question of jurisdiction and on the same day the committee gave a ruling on the issue. The issue is now mute because a decision has been rendered, and we are not going to raise any issue of jurisdiction further," Apollo said.

Lawyers representing the four commissioners had raised preliminary objections, claiming that the JLAC lacked jurisdiction to hear the petitions and that the commissioners had immunity as public officers, making the process unconstitutional.