Deputy President William Ruto's camp has protested the inclusion of Chief Justice Martha Koome in the technical committee on election preparedness, demanding that she dissociates herself from the team.
In a letter dated November 24, 2021 by Dr Ruto's party — United Democratic Alliance (UDA) —authored by its Secretary-General Veronica Maina and addressed to the CJ, the party demands that she "stops, abandons, desists, refrains and ceases from participating in the activities of the technical working committee".
"We therefore go on record on two things. First, that your participation in election planning is not founded in law and is hence unconstitutional, illegal and blatantly in breach of any code of known conduct or standard for judicial officers," states the letter.
"Secondly, your continued participation in election planning shall negate free and fair elections come 2022 as you have already created a perception of partiality and the likelihood of conflict of interest as an arbiter is more than certain."
Chair of forum
Ms Koome was elected to chair the National Multi-Sectoral Consultative Forum for Elections Preparedness.
The team also comprises Interior CS Fred Matiang'i, his PS Karanja Kibicho, IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati, Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki and ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru among other senior government officials.
The DP's camp insists that it is the sole responsibility of the IEBC to conduct, manage and prepare for elections and that the Judiciary has no role whatsoever, save for determining disputes that may arise after a general election.
in the protest letter that is also copied to Mr Chebukati, the European Union, the US ambassador to Kenya, the British High Commissioner and the chairman of the African Union Commission, Ms Maina states that the involvement of the CJ in the committee is likely to interfere with free and fair elections come 2022.
"Whereas we are cognisant that the technical working committee draws its membership from various government agencies and it is indeed a multi-sectoral forum, we opine that your involvement in the consultative meetings of the technical working committee is a clear violation of the Constitution, the Judicial Service Act, 2011, the Leadership and Integrity Act, 2012, the Public Officer Ethics Act, 2003 and the principles and the code of conduct for judicial officers."
The DP's team had earlier protested over CS Matiang’i and CS Mucheru, accusing them of sitting in the crucial committee "despite openly backing ODM leader Raila Odinga's candidacy".