Makau Mutua warns Ruto’s UDA party against replacing Cherera, 3 embattled IEBC commissioners
Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Spokesperson Makau Mutua has warned of dire consequences if the four dissenting Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) commissioners who rejected the presidential results announced by IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati on August 15 are replaced or dismissed from office.
Taking to his official Twitter account, Makua stated that President William Ruto's United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party should forget about the 2027 elections if the four embattled commissioners are replaced or dismissed from office.
He also warned that no by-election will occur if the ruling party dismisses the aforementioned commissioners.
"UDA needs to know that if through a kangaroo process in Parliament or without it dismisses and replaces the IEBC four that the 2027 elections, and any by elections, won’t take place. Period," he wrote on his Twitter.
UDA needs to know that if through a kangaroo process — in Parliament or without — it dismisses and replaces the IEBC Four that the 2027 elections, and ANY by elections, won’t take place. PERIOD.— Prof Makau Mutua (@makaumutua) November 26, 2022
Makau's remarks come ahead of the by-elections set for Elgeyo Marakwet, Kandara and Garissa township after the resignation of previous members following their appointment to Ruto's cabinet.
Kandara's parliamentary seat was previously occupied by Alice Wahome who was recently sworn in as Cabinet Secretary (CS) for water and sanitation.
Garissa township was previously occupied by Aden Duale, who is currently the CS for Defence whereas the Elegeyo Marakwet senatorial position was previously occupied by Kipchumba Murkomen who is the current CS for Transport and Public works.
The four, IEBC Vice Chairperson Juliana Cherera, commissioners Irine Masit, Justus Nyangaya, and Francis Wanderi, rejected the presidential results claiming the final tallying of the results was marred with discrepancies and irregularities.
The four also filed affidavits supporting Azimio’s unsuccessful petition challenging Ruto’s win at the Supreme Court.
They have since been summoned to appear before the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) for a hearing on four petitions seeking their removal from office for, among others, gross misconduct and abuse of office.
Earlier, Raila, who attended the JLAC session, warned of a fightback if Parliament proceeds with its plan to investigate the commissioners.
Flanked by Azimio top brass including Martha Karua and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Raila said the decision by the committee to summon the commissioners would be vehemently opposed.
Raila claimed the ruling administration was using the Legal Affairs Committee to go after the four for rejecting Ruto’s win.
“The injustice being inflicted on the four IEBC commissioners, if it proceeds as currently conceived, will mark the beginning of a massive pushback against Ruto and those who think like him, by the people of Kenya. We will openly and robustly lead that pushback,” Raila said.
He defended the four saying they had not been found guilty of any electoral malpractice and instead redirected blame to Chebukati who, he said, was the only one indicted by the Supreme Court.
“The Ruto administration wants to take us back to the Nyayo regime of the 1980s. We want to sound a warning that no one should lie to this regime that we will sit back and watch a return to the Nyayo regime by another name,” Raila said.
Karua, who was Raila’s running mate in the elections, said the committee’s actions were politically motivated. According to her, it was an attempt to block Cherera, the IEBC’s vice-chair, from running the commission once Chebukati retires early next year.
“This witch-hunt in Parliament is intended to prevent the vice-chairperson from taking over as provided for by the law,” she said.
Kalonzo, on his part, said the hearings were politically motivated.