By Samuel Ouma
President William Ruto on Friday announced the suspension of four officials of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) over purported gross misconduct.
In a gazette notice, the Kenyan President directed IEBC vice chair Juliana Whonge Cherera, Commissioners Francis Mathenge Wanderi, Irene Cherop Masit, and Justus Abonyo Nyang’aya to step down from office pending their alleged misconduct during the August 2022 general elections.
At the same time, Ruto formed a nine-member tribunal to investigate petitions seeking to remove the four officers from office. Court of Appeal Justice Aggrey Muchelule leads the tribunal.
Other tribunal members include Carolyne Kamende Daudi, Linda Gakii Kiome, Mathew Njaramba Nyabena, and Col. (Rtd.) Saeed Khamis Saeed.
The tribunal’s joint secretaries are Kibet Kirui Emmanuel and Irene Tunta. On the other hand, The tribunal’s lead counsel will be Peter Munge Murage, with whom Zamzam Abdi Abib will assist.
The tribunal must prepare and submit a report and its recommendations to President Ruto within 30 days.
The suspension comes a day after the National Assembly’s Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) committee recommended the suspension of the officials after adopting the petitions that called for the removal of the commissioners.
“Having received and considered the petition of the National Assembly … I, William Samoei Ruto, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces, do hereby direct that Juliana Whonge Cherera, Francis Mathenge Wanderi, Irene Cherop Masit and Justus Abonyo Nyang’aya, being members of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, be and are hereby suspended from office with immediate effect,” read the gazette notice in part.
The four rejected presidential results released by IEBC chair Wafula Chebukati claiming they were doctored in favour of William Ruto.
Petitions calling for the ouster of the commissioners were filed by the Republican Party, Rev. Dennis Ndwiga Nthumbi, Geoffrey Lang’at, and Owuor Steve Gerry.