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Why Senior Council wants Chebukati barred from holding public office

Senior Counsel Zehrabanu Janmohamed has asked the Supreme Court to bar the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairperson Wafula Chebukati from conducting elections or holding public office in Kenya.

She criticised the poll agency, citing the postponement of gubernatorial elections and the split between Chebukati and four commissioners.

“We request that the Chairperson be prohibited from conducting any further elections in Kenya in view of his behaviour and or holding any public office in Kenya in breach of Chapter six of the Constitution,” Janmohamed said.

While making her submissions in court, the Senior Counsel also stated that the presidential election did not reflect the sovereign will of the people.

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“We shouldn’t be in a position where we hope our votes count, but a position where we know our votes count,” she submitted.

She argued that Chebukati ought to have held consultations with all the commissioners in the verification and declaration of the presidential results.

“The disconnect between the commissioners clearly shows there is a problem. We do not know what is happening as voters. Was the election accurate? Was it verifiable? The voter wants to know,” she said.

Ms Janmohamed, who is representing John Njoroge Kamau, a petitioner in the presidential election petition, further argued that Chebukati’s integrity is questionable. Mr Njoroge, is a petitioner in the case challenging William Ruto’s win in the presidential election.

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The Senior Counsel denied claims that Mr Njoroge is a surrogate or proxy of Azimio la Umoja – One Kenya Coalition flagbearer Raila Odinga in the petition.

“Article 1(1) relates to the sovereignty of the people. Article 3 (1) of the constitution it is the duty of every Kenyan to uphold and defend the constitution hence it’s very sad to see that when John Njoroge comes to court he is immediately vilified and stigmatised. All he is doing is exercising his constitutional duty and following the law,” the Senior Counsel submitted.

In their petition on August 22, Mr Odinga and his running mate Martha Karua also beseeched the court to declare Chebukati unfit to hold a public office.

“… A declaration be made that Wafula Chebukati is unfit to hold public office and that IEBC, its chair and Commissioners Boya Molu and Abdi Guliye committed election irregularities.”

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At the same time, lawyer Pheroze Nowrojee, who is also representing Mr Odinga, has asked the Supreme Court to find Mr Chebukati unsuitable to continue holding office. In his submissions, on the first day of hearings, Mr Nowrojee said Mr Chebukati has allowed himself to be used to establish an unconstitutional government.

“We pray that you make a holding that he has done such an attempt which is a mechanism within the Constitution itself and this election petition,” Nowrojee said.

The Senior Counsel told the seven-judge bench that one person cannot be allowed to use the same tricks across two elections.

Mr Chebukati on August 15, declared Dr Ruto as President-elect after garnering over 7.1 million votes. The declaration was immediately rejected by Azimio la Umoja and the four dissenting commissioners.