Juliana Cherera resigns as IEBC vice chair days after Ruto’s suspension

IEBC vice chairperson Juliana Cherera

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) vice chairperson Juliana Cherera.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Ms Cherera is the second commissioner at the electoral agency to quit after Justus Nyang’aya resigned on Friday.

Electoral commission vice chairperson Juliana Cherera has resigned, days after being suspended from office by President William Ruto.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) vice chair becomes the second of the four besieged commissioners who were set to face a tribunal on their conduct following a parliamentary vote and the formation of a Justice Aggrey Muchelule-led team.

Commissioner Justus Nyang’aya was the first to call it quits on Friday, hours after President Ruto formed the tribunal.

Ms Cherera and Mr Nyang’aya are among four commissioners including Irene Masit and Francis Wanderi who will remain out of office pending investigation by the tribunal expected to submit a report and its recommendations in 30 days.

In a letter to the President, Ms Cherera said she quit because “my cumulative actions done in good faith are unfortunately misjudged and misinterpreted.”

“It is with immense woe that today I tender my resignation as commissioner and vice chairperson of the IEBC. Since joining the commission, I have dispensed my duties diligently, meticulously, and put up a spirited effort in helping IEBC deal with corporate governance issues under very difficult circumstances,” Ms Cherera said.

These actions, she said, had been misinterpreted.

“However, my cumulative actions done in good faith are unfortunately misjudged and misinterpreted. After careful consideration of the current events at the commission, and with consultation with my family and lawyers, I accept that my stay at the commission is no longer tenable and therefore choose to vacate,” she went on.

In his letter of resignation on Friday, Commissioner Nyang’aya said he made the decision after “fervent prayers and in the best interest of the nation”.

“It is with heavy heart that I tender my resignation as a commissioner of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission effective today,” states the letter dated December 2.

“In the last few weeks, I have heard serious soul searching and being a man of faith, prayed fervently so that I may have the wisdom to make a decision that is in the best interest of the country. We all agree that the best interest of the nation must always supersede our individual interests,” he added.

The commissioner said he has always “endeavoured to act in the best interest of the country, although my actions, taken in good faith have been misconstrued”.

On Friday, President Ruto announced the formation of the tribunal in a gazette notice. The tribunal was sworn in at the Supreme Court buildings later Friday afternoon.

Other members of the tribunal are Carolyne Kamende Daudi, Linda Gakii Kiome, Mathew Njaramba Nyabena and Col (Rtd) Saeed Khamis Saeed.

On Tuesday, the four beleaguered electoral agency commissioners wanted President Ruto to explain how he concluded that they were “rogue officials”.

In a letter drafted by their lawyer Apollo Mboya and addressed to President Ruto, the breakaway commissioners declined to appear before the National Assembly’s Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC).

The committee recommended their removal from office in a report adopted by the House on Thursday, informing the President’s decision to establish a tribunal.

The tribunal’s mandate will be to consider the petition for the removal of the four IEBC commissioners and to inquire into the allegations.