Members of the National Assembly’s Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) on Friday, November 25, expressed their concerns with a petitioner’s insufficient evidence against four electoral commissioners.
The MPs noted that the petitioner Geoffrey Langat lacked clarity on several issues he raised against the four Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) commissioners, dubbed the Cherera Four – vice-chairperson Juliana Cherera, Francis Wanderi, Irene Masit and Justus Nyang’aya.
“Could you kindly explain how appointing a law firm to act on their (commissioners) behalf is a crime or a misconduct,” Mugirango South MP Sylvanus Osoro wondered.
In his response, petitioner Langat noted that the commissioners were supposed to get legal services from the commission rather than sourcing services independently.
However, members of the JLAC committee were seemingly unsatisfied and ended up grilling the petitioners further.
“Help me understand what particular Article of the Constitution did they violate during the procurement process,” Osoro asked further.
Petitioner Langat avered that the commissioners attempted to create a new backdoor not provided for in the Constitution.
The session was further spun when Langat admitted that he was a registered member of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party.
He was then asked if his allegiance to UDA influenced his decision to petition the National Assembly to initiate the removal of the four IEBC commissioners.
Langat repulsed the insinuation that he was acting on behalf of his political party, the UDA.
“I am guided by the principle that when you sit under a tree, you must understand that someone else planted that tree. It is therefore my humble submission that, just like those who fought for democracy before me, I must stand up for what is good for the nation,” petitioner Langat submitted.
The ouster of the four IEBC commissioners kicked off on Thursday, November 24, when the first petition was filed by the Republican Party and was heard by a section of the JLAC committee.
Republican Party argued that the four violated the Constitution by holding a press conference rejecting the presidential results on the grounds that the IEBC chairperson, Wafula Chebukati, conducted the verification and tallying process in an opaque manner.
President William Ruto and Azimio La Umoja leader Raila Odinga on Friday, November 25, engaged in a bitter war of words over the ongoing proceedings before the JLAC committee.
The president responded to Raila’s accusations of conducting revenge against his perceived political adversaries.
“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.
“New order is the rule of law, not the wishes of big men,” Ruto stated on his social media pages.
Raila responded within minutes, arguing that the President was taking part in trivial matters that deserved a better constitutional approach.
“There is due process and natural justice, things aren’t just done at the whims of the Executive. The rule of law must prevail and not your jungle laws that you want to institute to subjugate Kenyans to a conveyor belt system of elections come 2027.
“We shall not relent,” Raila countered.