Azimio la Umoja - One Kenya coalition leader Raila Odinga on Friday, November 25, vowed to continue defending four electoral commissioners facing ouster over their conduct in the August presidential election.
The former Prime Minister made the remarks after President William Ruto told off the Azimio boss for opposing the hearing of four petitions lodged against the officials of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) at Parliament.
In a tweet, Ruto asked the Azimio leader to keep off the process, saying under his administration the rule of law will have a say and "not the wishes of big men".
The Head of State alleged that Raila used the March 2018 political truce with retired President Uhuru Kenyatta to undermine oversight institutions in the previous administration.
"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," Ruto said in a tweet.
"New order is RULE of LAW not wishes of big men."
But in a swift rejoinder, Raila maintained that the petitions seeking the removal of the commissioners were politically motivated to influence the outcome of the 2027 elections.
"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 so as to subjugate Kenyans to a conveyor belt system of elections come 2027. We shall not relent," Raila replied in a tweet.
The four, IEBC Vice Chairperson Juliana Cherera, commissioners Irine Masit, Justus Nyangaya, and Francis Wanderi, rejected the presidential results announced by IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati on August 15, claiming the final tallying of the results was opaque.
The four also filed affidavits supporting Azimio’s unsuccessful petition challenging Ruto’s win at the Supreme Court.
They have been summoned to appear before the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) for a hearing on four petitions seeking their removal from office for, among others, gross misconduct and abuse of office.
Yesterday, Raila, who attended the JLAC session, warned of a sustained fightback if Parliament proceeds with its plan to investigate the commissioners.
Flanked by Azimio top brass including Martha Karua and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Raila said the decision by the committee to summon the commissioners would be vehemently opposed.
Raila claimed the Legal Affairs Committee was being used by the ruling administration to go after the four for rejecting Ruto’s win.
“The injustice being inflicted on the four IEBC commissioners, if it proceeds as currently conceived, will mark the beginning of a massive pushback against Ruto and those who think like him, by the people of Kenya. We will openly and robustly lead that pushback,” Raila said.
He defended the four saying they had not been found culpable of any electoral malpractice. He instead redirected blame to Chebukati who, he said, was the only one indicted by the Supreme Court.
“The Ruto administration wants to take us back to the Nyayo regime of the 1980s. We want to sound a warning that no one should lie to this regime that we will sit back and watch a return to the Nyayo regime by another name,” Raila said.
Karua, who was Raila’s running mate in the elections, said the committee’s actions were politically motivated. According to her, it was an attempt to block Cherera, the IEBC’s vice-chair, from running the commission once Chebukati retires early next year.
“This witch-hunt in Parliament is intended to prevent the vice-chairperson from taking over as provided for by the law,” she said.
Kalonzo, on his part, said the hearings were politically motivated. By Wycliffe Nyamasege, People Daily