President Ruto suspends 'Cherera Four' from IEBC

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. The parliamentary committee considering the petitions seeking the removal from office of the four commissioners faces five legal issues as it retreats today to write its report.

Photo credit: File I Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Juliana Cherera, Justus Nyang’aya, Irene Masit and Francis Wanderi will remain out of office pending investigation by a tribunal chaired by Justice Aggrey Muchelule. 

President William Ruto has suspended from office four electoral agency commissioners accused of being rogue. 

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) commissioners Juliana Cherera, Justus Nyang’aya, Irene Masit and Francis Wanderi will remain out of office pending investigation by a tribunal chaired by Justice Aggrey Muchelule. 

President Ruto announced the formation of the tribunal in a Gazette notice dated December 2. Other members of the tribunal are Carolyne Kamende Daudi, Linda Gakii Kiome, Mathew Njaramba Nyabena and Col. (Rtd.) Saeed Khamis Saeed.

Kibet Kirui Emmanuel and Irene Tunta Nchoe will serve as joint secretaries of the tribunal and Peter Munge Murage will be lead counsel assisted by Zamzam Abdi Abib. 

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

The team will prepare and submit a report and its recommendations within 30 days.

The four commissioners, for the duration they will be out of office, will be entitled to continue to receive one-half of the remuneration and benefits of the office. 

On Tuesday this week, 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 said they would only participate in ongoing JLAC hearings if the head of state responded to their request.

"The said tweet which we deem to have nexus to the petition before the Honourable Departmental Committee....In order for us to participate fully in the proceedings before the Departmental Committee and taking into account that the process may very well culminate into you appointing a tribunal, this is to request that you provide to us further and better particulars forming the conclusions made in your tweet,"

"The activities, conduct or actions of the officials that makes the official rogue. The activities, conduct or actions of the said officials that subverted the democratic will of the people," Mr Mboya, acting on the behalf of the four commissioners said in a letter dated November 28, 2022.

The petitioners want the four commissioners kicked out of the IEBC for rejecting the presidential election results announced by commission chairman Wafula Chebukati on August 15, 2022, declaring Dr Ruto the winner of the hotly contested elections against his main challenger Mr Raila Odinga. 

President Ruto’s tweet on the four commissioners read: “The lords of impunity, who destroyed oversight institutions using the handshake fraud, should allow Parliament to hold rogue officials who put the nation in danger by subverting the democratic will of the people to be held to account.”

Mr Mboya told the committee that on November 25, 2022, a tweet from President Ruto aimed at the four commissioners, implied that he has already judged them and that the House committee could be engaged in a matter whose outcome is already predetermined.

On Tuesday, Azimio's  Parliamentary Group meeting attended by Mr Odinga and also  Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, DAP-K patron Eugene Wamalwa and Kanu Executive Director George Wainaina, also resolved that the JLAC hearings against the four IEBC commissioners Juliana Cherera, Francis Wanderi, Irene Masit and Justus Nyang'aya are a "lynch mob, a hired hit squad and an illegality with a predetermined position."

The group will from December 7 be having public engagements across the country in solidarity with the four commissioners.

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