Senator Omtatah wants court to quash petitions for removal of embattled IEBC commissioners

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Milimani Law Courts.

Homabay Senator Okiya Omtatah has filed a petition seeking to quash four petitions filed in the National Assembly to remove the four embattled IEBC commissioners.

Omtatah wants the High Court to quash the petitions seeking to remove the commissioners who distanced themselves from the 2022 general elections presidential results terming the process as opaque.

The senator also wants the court to quash the proceedings being conducted before the Department Committee on Justice and legal affairs relating to four petitions.

In addition, Omatatah  wants the high court to quash any resolution by the National Assembly assembly to forward to the President the four petitions seeking the removal of the four commissioners.

The four include IEBC Vice-chairperson Juliana Cherara, commissioners Irene Mansit, Justus Nyang’ya and Francis Wanderi.

The senator wants the high court to declare that the decision by the Supreme Court in the 2022 presidential petition is final and absolute bar to the four petitions filed in the Parliament seeking the removal of the four commissioners.

It is his argument that the petitions are discriminatory and politically instigated to victimize the four commissioners.

“The victimisation and discriminatory treatment of the four commissioners violates express provisions of the Constitution of Kenya,” Omtatah said.

The court heard that on 15th August 2022, just before the results of the 2022 Presidential elections were announced at the National Tallying Centre at the Bomas of Kenya, a major split among the seven Commissioners of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission over the process of verifying and tallying of the final results erupted into the public. 

“The split pitted the 1st to 3rd interested parties (the three Commissioners) who supported the proceedings against the 4th to 7th interested parties (the four Commissioners), who were disgruntled by the proceedings,” the senator added.

Senator Omtatah further accuses President William Ruto of taking sides and openly supporting petitions targeting only the four commissioners and not the other three for purely political reasons, yet the Supreme Court pronounced itself that the entire Commission was dysfunctional.

“Clearly, and most unfortunately, the President, who is supposed to be a neutral arbiter, given the role he plays in the impeachment process by appointing the trial tribunal, has allowed his personal interests to override his public duties, contrary to express provisions of the Constitution,” Omtatah said.

It is his view that the National Assembly’s consideration of the petitions cannot be distanced from the President’s vested interests in the outcome of the proceedings, including political interests, because the four removal petitions are a tool in the political struggle conducted by one part of society enjoying State power against the other which does not.