By Samuel Ouma
Kenya’s electoral agency, Independence Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), is now fully constituted to conduct next year’s general elections following the swearing-in of four new commissioners.
Chief Justice Martha Koome sworn-in Juliana Wihonge Chirera, Francis Mathenge Wanderi, Irene Cherop, and Justice Abonyo Nyangaya at the Supreme Court, Nairobi, on Thursday, September 2, 2021.
In a Gazette Notice dated September 1, 2021, President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed the four after lawmakers approved the National Assembly Justice and League Affairs vetting report.
The commissioners will serve a six-year term.
They replace former Vice-Chair Connie Nkatha, Ambassador Paul Kurgat, Roselyne Akombe, and Margaret Mwachanya, who resigned after the 2017 elections.
IEBC now has six commissioners and a chair as required by the law. Apart from the four, others are chairperson Wafula Chebukati and commissioners Boya Molu and Abdi Yakub Goliye.
A petitioner on Wednesday rushed to court seeking to stop the commissioners from taking the oath. In his suit, Nornael Okello argued the appointment breached the two-thirds gender rule.
Okello also protested the appointment of Irene Cherop, claiming she had contested an electoral post in the past as opposed to the Constitutional requirement.
In his ruling on Thursday, the High Court Judge Justice Weldon Korir rejected the petition saying any further delay will interfere with polls preparations with less than one year remaining.
“It’s in the public interest that the conservatory orders should not be granted,” said the judge.