Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati (pictured) has asked court to dismiss a case seeking to bar him from steering next year’s elections.
Chebukati’s lawyer Erick Mutua told the court the orders being sought were meant to kick his client out of the office without proof he has violated the Constitution.
“If you look at those two orders being sought, the import is to bar the respondent (Chebukati) from sitting in a constitutional office. For those orders to be issued, the court must be convinced those violations have occurred,” Mutua said.
The lawyer said the court should give his client and the IEBC a chance to tell their side of the story.
Chebukati was replying to a case filed by Samwel Clinton Elijah who wants him kicked out of office on the basis of IEBC’s indictment by the Supreme Court over the 2017 General Election irregularities.
The case filed before High Court judge Weldon Korir stems from the Supreme Court’s annulment of the 2017 presidential election.
Elijah said although the court found gaps that affected the process leading to the nullification of the results of the presidential poll, IEBC has not facilitated public participation or taken action to ensure they are sealed.
“The respondent (Chebukati) failed to adhere to the constitution and the applicable laws hence steered the 1st interested party (IEBC) in conducting a presidential election that was marred with irregularities and illegalities which were substantial and significant that they affected the integrity of the presidential election of August 8, 2017, the results notwithstanding,” court papers filed by Elijah’s lawyer Denis Seko read.
Elijah wants Chebukati stopped from heading the commission until the case is heard and determined.
He says IEBC is ill-prepared for next year’s elections. For instance, he said, the commission has failed to fill critical positions left vacant by commissioners who quit or retired. The applicant says the commission has an additional staff deficit of 296, including a chief executive officer.
“On September 2018, the then IEBC Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba was sacked by the respondent. The position remains vacant to date and the first interested party has not had a substantive Chief Executive Officer since 2018,” he says.
Since the commission is not fully constituted even after President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed four new commissioners, Elijah asserts that Kenyans are not confident next year’s elections will be free and fair.
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