Cherera Four ouster cases set for Thursday in House
Hearing of petitions seeking the removal from office of four commissioners of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will commence on Thursday.
The Clerk of the National Assembly, Samuel Njoroge, said the Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs (JLAC) would on Thursday and Friday listen to the petitioners.
The four petitioners are: Republican Party, Rev Dennis Ndwiga, Geoffrey Langat and Owour Jerry.
This will pave the way for cross-examination of the four IEBC commissioners.
He said the committee would on Monday and Tuesday, which is the final day of the hearings, cross-examine the four commissioners — IEBC vice-chairperson Juliana Cherera and commissioners Irene Masit, Francis Wanderi and Justus Nyang’aya.
The committee has 14 days to submit a report to the House as required under Standing Orders.
Assess the grounds
Once the committee tables the report, the House will have 10 days to decide whether the petitions have valid grounds for removal of the commissioners,” he said.
“The departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs shall commence hearings on the four petitions for removal of commissioners of IEBC as from Thursday November 24, 2022, at the mini chamber of 1st floor, County Hall, Parliament Buildings,” reads the notice by Njoroge.
Last week, National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula approved the petitions and committed them to the relevant House committee.
Wetang’ula told members that they must conduct any quasi-judicial proceedings in strict compliance with the Constitution and the Fair Administrative Action Act.
The petitioners want Parliament to recommend the formation of a tribunal by President William Ruto to remove the four from office.
The first petition was filed by the Republican Party, which says the four violated the Constitution by holding a press conference rejecting the presidential results on grounds that the IEBC chairperson conducted the verification and tallying processes in an opaque manner.
The other petition is by Rev Dennis Ndwiga, who accuses the four of favouring one candidate or, in the alternative, attempting to force a run-off.
Subvert people’s will
“They accepted a proposal to alter the results of the presidential election to subvert the will of the people, contrary to the Constitution,” reads the petition.
The Farmers Party submitted the third petition, also seeking removal of the commissioners for allegedly attempting to sabotage the August 9 General Election.
It alleges that the four attempted to sabotage an election process, as witnessed on August 15, 2022, at Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi.
Lack legal mandate
Geoffrey Langat and Stephen Owour filed the fourth and fifth petition, in which they argue that the commissioners were in contravention of the Constitution and do not have the mandate to sit in the electoral body.
The proceedings for removal of a member of a constitutional commission or an independent office differ significantly from the investigatory powers of the House since such members are protected by the law and the Constitution.
Also, there are strict rules on their removal from office.