JLAC confirms Kenya’s fake democracy

IEBC commissioners from left: Justus Nyang'aya, Francis Wanderi, Vice-chairperson Juliana Cherera and Irene Masit.

IEBC commissioners from left: Justus Nyang'aya, Francis Wanderi, Vice-chairperson Juliana Cherera and Irene Masit at Serena Hotel, Nairobi on August 16, 2022. Four petitions were presented to the National Assembly seeking the removal of the four commissioners.

Photo credit: Jeff Angote I Nation Media Group

In the last four weeks, I’ve published in this column a series on what I’ve called “Kenya’s fake democracy”.

American inventor and thinker Benjamin Franklin is known for many great achievements, but one of the pithiest was a saying on democracy and liberty that has stood the test of time. The maestro opined that “those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor security”.

I’ve seen a lot of this in Kenya since the August 9 elections as quislings multiply by the second. The last obsequious show of complicity with shameless and incipient fascism has been on full display at the Judiciary and Legal Affairs Committee of the National Assembly.

JLAC, as the committee is called, is a lynch mob of Kenya Kwanza MPs determined to finish the job of completely making the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) a department in the Office of the President.

The KK “honourable” members are so zealous that they couldn’t even breathe as they attempted to explain their own charade.

I hear the chair of JLAC is a lawyer who even became a partner in a reputable Nairobi firm. But if that man went to law school, then I wonder what he learnt there.

A layman who’s never gone beyond high school has a better grasp of the rules of natural justice.

I attended the hearings and thought he was auditioning to succeed Dear Leader Kim Jong Un.

A simple majority

But I am running ahead of myself.

The IEBC is made up of seven commissioners, including the chairman. A simple majority of four makes decisions for the commission.

As even the impugned Supreme Court itself ruled, Chairman Wafula Chekubati was in breach of the law and the Constitution when he unilaterally, with a minority of two commissioners, declared UDA’s William Ruto have won the August 9 presidential vote. Imagine that – even the Supreme Court, itself a central cog of Kenya’s fake democracy – censured Mr Chebukati. H

ow surreal then it is the four valiant commissioners, and not the law-breaking chairman, whom JLAC is investigating? Very simple. On instructions from the UDA regime, JLAC has been detailed to remove the four commissioners.

In my eyes, and those of a majority of Kenyans, the so-called IEBC Four – Vice Chair Juliana Cherera, Irene Masit, Francis Wanderi, and Justus Nyang’aya – are the heroes in our struggle to defeat the authors of fake democracy.

They stood tall and firm against Mr Chebukati and his two minions as they rammed through a fake election result.

Even a fool knows Chief Justice Martha Koome and a tiny minority of two judges cannot render a ruling of the Supreme Court with the other four justices on the side opposite.

CJ Koome and her two comrades would be the “dissenters” in the majority ruling of the four others. That’s black letter law that is not open to any other interpretation.

That’s why I don’t – and no rational person can – understand the universe in which JLAC investigates the majority in an independent constitutional commission for doing their work in good faith.

The only conclusion is that the four refused a sham process to declare Mr Ruto the winner, and for that the UDA regime seems determined to remove and replace them with Mr Ruto’s compliant appointees in readiness for the 2027 elections.

JLAC wants to win the 2027 election for Mr Ruto in 2022. The KK members of JLAC have given up their liberty for whatever “security” they’ve been given by the state. They will live in infamy for abdicating their oversight role, and becoming poodles of the executive.

On Thursday, after it became clear that JLAC was on a terror mission against the IEBC Four, Azimio MPs, led by Minority Whip Junet Mohamed and MP TJ Kajwang, stormed out of the sham proceedings.

Similarly, the eminent lawyers for the IEBC Four stormed out rather than lend credence to a kangaroo court, a slaughterhouse on which the blood of democracy would be spilt to feed the monster of fascism.

Big Brother

As in George Orwell’s 1984, what you see isn’t real — because Big Brother knows everything and has started telling you what to think and believe.

No democrat worth the name can sit and watch such a brazen departure from decency and civilisation. JLAC has become the latest institution to affirm Kenya’s fake democracy.

Apart from all the fatal defects of the JLAC process, the committee simply lacks jurisdiction to conduct an investigation of the IEBC Four.

The law provides for other legal forums where petitioners can lodge complaints against any commissioner.

JLAC isn’t the port of first call. I want to warn JLAC and the UDA regime. Going forward with the persecution of the IEBC Four is a red line for Kenyan democrats, no matter their party affiliation.

It will lead to a constitutional crisis and deepen the suffering of our people. Let those with ears hear. It’s an unacceptable power grab. I urge the state to step back.

Makau Mutua is SUNY Distinguished Professor and Margaret W. Wong Professor at Buffalo Law School, The State University of New York. @makaumutua.