9 July 2014

Kenya: IEBC Officials Want Petition to Sack Them Dismissed

IEBC Chairman Isaac Hassan (C) with CEO James Oswaga have a word with Ugenya MP David Ochieng' after meeting the justice and legal affairs committee on July 16, 2013. Photo/file

Commissioners of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission have said the petition seeking to sack them is "incompetent and was filed in bad faith".

In a response presented to Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs, IEBC chairman Isaac Hassan yesterday urged the committee to dismiss the petition. He said the petitioner abused the legitimate process vested in Parliament.

"The petition is not supported by any evidence we can respond to," Hassan said. Wafula Buke, a human rights activist, filed the petition on April 29 asking Parliament to approve the removal of the IEBC commissioners on grounds of gross violation of the constitution and incompetence in the way it handled the March 4, 2013 general election.

The nine commissioners - Lilian Mahiri, Abdhullahi Sharawe, Thomas Letangule, Mohamed Alawi, Albert Bwire, Kule Godana, Yusuf Nzibo and Muthoni Wangari - said there is a court case pending contrary to affirmation made by Buke earlier that there is no case in court.

They said Buke should have filed a petition in respect to each commissioner rather than all of them together. They said the petitioner is seeking for collective punishment and violating their rights to fair trial.

The commissioners said before they were vetted and found suitable to hold office and appointed in 2011. Concerning the procurement of electronic voter identification devices and the biometric voter registration, the commissioners said their role is limited to approval of the budget and the procurement plan.

The Justice committee has until July 17 to file its report in the assembly for consideration and advice as to whether a tribunal should be formed by the President to investigate the commissioners.

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