The president has formed a tribunal to investigate the four commissioers.
The investigation into the four suspended IEBC commissioners Juliana Cherera, Irene Masit, Francis Wanderi, and Justus Nyang’aya will be led by Justice Aggrey Muchelule and a nine-person team.
The tribunal is made up of Col. (Retired) Saeed Khamis, Mathew Njaramba Nyabena, and Carolyne Kamende Daudi.
Irene Tunta Nchoe and Kibet Kirui Emmanuel are the joint secretaries.
The principal attorney will be Peter Munge Murage, with Zamzam Abdi Abib assisting him.
The tribunal’s mandate is to consider the request to have members of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Juliana Whonge Cherera, Francis Mathenge Wanderi, Irene Cherop Masit, and Justus Abonyo Nyang’aya removed from their positions, as well as Juliana Whonge Cherera.
The tribunal must promptly prepare and submit a report with its recommendations, as well as wield all the legal authority granted to it for the appropriate discharge of its duties, according to the Head of State.
President William Ruto announced the suspension of the four IEBC commissioners on Friday, December 2, citing allegations of serious misconduct and constitutional violations. He then released the list of the tribunal members in a Special Gazette Notice.
After contesting the presidential election results declared by IEBC chairwoman Wafula Chebukati on August 9, 2022, the commissioners’ suspension opens the door for inquiries against their behavior by a nine-member panel.
Chebukati was charged by the accusing party of tampering with the findings to favor President.
The president had been advised by the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) of the National Assembly to establish a tribunal to look into the four for their election-related behavior.
On December 1st, the National Assembly passed the JLAC report.
President Ruto appointed a nine-member panel on Friday, December 2, and suspended the four commissioners through a Special Gazette Notice.
The tribunal was instructed to complete the investigation quickly and deliver its findings to the head of state.
The four commissioners will get half of their monthly salary while they are suspended but won’t be able to carry out their duties.
The tribunal may suggest the commissioners be fired or completely reinstated.
None of the accused commissioners appeared in person to honor the summonses during JLAC sessions.
Reverend David Nthumbi was one of four petitioners who lodged objections with the National Assembly accusing the renegade commissioners of trying to overturn Kenyans’ will.
The procedure for removing the commissioner of an independent body from office is outlined in Article 251 of the Constitution.
The Constitution states that anyone who wants to have a member of a commission or someone holding an independent position removed “may make a petition to the National Assembly giving out the purported facts establishing that reason.”
The president may suspend the member or office after receiving a petition. “The National Assembly shall consider the petition and, if it is satisfied that it discloses a ground for removal from office, shall send the petition to the President.
The legislation states that the tribunal must look into the situation quickly, present the facts, and offer a binding recommendation to the president, who must follow the recommendation within 30 days.
“A person who is suspended in accordance with this Article is still entitled to earn half of the salary and benefits associated with the position during their suspension.