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Explainer: What it takes to remove IEBC commissioners

By Kevin Cheruiyot September 18th, 2022 2 min read

Four dissenting Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) official are facing rough times ahead as petitioners seek their removal from office.

The commissioners – Vice Chairperson Juliana Cherera, Francis Mathenge Wanderi, Justus Ngang’aya and Irene Cherono Masit – drew the country’s attention on August 15 when they rejected the presidential election results, and walked out of the national tallying center minutes before IEBC chair Wafula Chebukati declared Dr William Ruto the president-elect.

Article 251(1) of the Constitution states that a member of a commission (other than an ex officio member), or the holder of an independent office, may be removed from office only for a serious violation of this Constitution or any other law, including a contravention of Chapter Six, gross misconduct, whether in the performance of the member’s or office holder’s functions or otherwise, physical or mental incapacity to perform the functions of office, incompetence, or bankruptcy.

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In its petition, the Farmers Party wants the four to be removed from office in accordance with Article 251, and 88 on grounds of serious violation of the Constitution.

Also, two lawyers have taken their petition to Parliament seeking the removal of the four commissioners. The process of the removal of the commissioner starts the moment the petition has been received by the National Assembly Clerk, and stamped as received by the assembly’s Main Records Unit.

The next step will be for a motion to be mentioned and debated before the National Assembly. During the determination of the petition, the simple majority number of MPs is required to move the petition to the president.

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Upon receiving the petition from the Parliament, the president will either suspend the commissioner being questioned pending the outcome of the complaint, or appoint a tribunal that will probe the member.

The tribunal shall investigate the matter expeditiously, report on the facts and make a binding recommendation to the President, who shall act in accordance with the recommendation within 30 days.

If the member or members are removed from office, in accordance with the tribunal’s recommendations, they will still be entitled to continue to receive one-half of the remuneration and benefits of the office while suspended. The president shall thereafter publish a notice of a vacancy in the Gazette within seven days of suspension.

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