Four petitions were yesterday presented to the National Assembly seeking the removal of four electoral commissioners who disowned the August 9 presidential election results, allegedly after the final phase of verification and tallying was done in an opaque manner.
The four petitions are by the Republican Party, Rev Dennis Ndwiga Nthumbi, Mr Geoffrey Lang’at and Mr Steve Jerry Owuor.
The petitions want the removal of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) vice chair Juliana Cherera, and commissioners Francis Wanderi, Justus Nyang’aya and Irene Masit, who disowned the results announced by chairman Wafula Chebukati.
The four will know their fate in 14 days when a parliamentary committee will present a report on whether Parliament will ask President William Ruto to form a tribunal to look into whether they should be removed from office.
In its petition, the Republican Party accuses the four commissioners of violating the Constitution by rejecting the results. The petitioner also argues that the four failed to meet the integrity test of the office they hold, and brought dishonour and indignity to the nation, contrary to article 71 of the Constitution.
The petitioner also says the four acted in a manner that demeans the office they hold contrary to Article 75 of the Constitution.
For his part, Rev Nthumbi says the commissioners should be removed from office on serious violations of the law, gross misconduct and incompetence.
Rev Nthumbi said the four commissioners demonstrated partiality and biased conduct in agreeing in a proposal to alter the results in favour of one candidate or to force a runoff, both actions he said were against the Constitution and set laws.
He also argues that the commissioners had erred in law by “acting in liaison with one faction in a presidential election” and that they had given in to proposals by the National Security Advisory Council (NSAC) to review the results, which was against the law.
Mr Lang’at and Mr Owuor make the same allegations against the four commissioners, citing their rejection of the presidential results, a move they said threatened the cohesion of the country, as well as the independence of the commission.
“The work of the committee is to guide the House by way of a comprehensive report on whether the petitions satisfy the conditions set for the removal of one or all of the cited members of an independent commission,” said National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula.
Mr Wetang’ula also told the committee to accord the commissioners the right to appear in person or be represented by a lawyer, as well as the right to cross-examine the petitioners under oath over all matters related to the petition.
Upon tabling of the report, the House will have 10 days to decide whether the petition has valid grounds for the removal of one or all of the commissioners.
Article 251 of the Constitution provides that commissioners can only be removed through a petition filed in the National Assembly and a tribunal formed by the President.
Yesterday, Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo dismissed the petitions, saying they were in bad taste because the country has moved on from the August 9 election.
“Let us not get stuck in the past, we challenged the results in court, but we were told that it was hot air and we moved on. Even if you look at what the court said there was nothing adverse said about them,” Ms Odhiambo said.
However, Majority leader Kimani Ichung’wa, Majority Whip Sylvanus Osoro, and Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa said the public is allowed to petition Parliament on any matter, hence the petitions should be allowed to go on.