, NAIROBI, Kenya July 3 – Political activist Wafula Buke on Thursday appeared before the National Assembly Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs to give evidence in a petition where he is seeking the removal of Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan and nine commissioners from office.
Buke appeared with his lawyer Haroun Ndubi but they asked to be given until Wednesday next week to present their evidence of individual culpability of the commissioners to warrant their removal.
“Let us bring the evidence that will point to the culpability of the commissioners both individually and collectively. We shall seek to persuade those who think they cannot be collectively culpable,” Ndubi said.
He also says he will come with witnesses to back his claims, but this was rejected by Committee Chairman Samuel Chepkonga who ruled that Buke should present written submissions from his witnesses.
The committee has directed the activist to present all his evidence at noon on Wednesday.
Committee Chairman Samuel Chepkonga had earlier rejected a request by Buke’s legal team for an adjournment so that he can prepare to make an oral submission.
Chepkonga explained that the House team only wanted Buke to explain his petition where he is alleging incompetence on the part of IEBC officials as MPs Olago Aluoch (Kisumu Town West), Moses Cheboi (Kuresoi North) and William Cheptumo (Baringo North) said the role of his legal counsel should be limited, that petitions are primarily about hearing queries the petitioner wants addressed.
“It’s not that we don’t have the documents, the documents are fully assembled but the seriousness of the matter requires that we really try and do sufficient research with as much clarity as possible and it is because of that, that I hoped the lawyers were better placed to do that and I took a back seat. I even expected I will be allowed time to present two experts on this matter we are dealing with,” Buke told the MPs.
In his opening remarks on his petition, the former University of Nairobi student leader said he was reluctant about appearing before the House team because of his past experience with government organs which are hostile to the citizens.
“I have been to many institutions in my life; the courts, police and my experience has told that there is need to be cautious, I have been to court and I was jailed before contacting a lawyer so I would not come here carelessly; so my coming with lawyers is informed by my history of relating with a state agency that is hostile to an ordinary person like me,” he said.
In his petition, Buke wants Parliament to find that the IEBC violated the Constitution in the manner it handled the disputed presidential poll where President Uhuru Kenyatta beat CORD leader Raila Odinga.
The petitioner alleges that the nine commissioners were incompetent in the management of the elections and wants them removed pursuant to Article 251 (a) and (b) of the Constitution.
Odinga petitioned the election at the Supreme Court and lost after the court upheld the declaration of Kenyatta as the winner of the presidential poll.
Other commissioners that Buke wants removed from office are Vice-chairperson Lilian Mahiri-Zaja, Abdullahi Sharawe, Thomas Letangule, Mohamed Alawi Hussun, Albert Camus Onyango Bwire, Kule Galma Godana, Yusuf Nzibo and Muthoni Wangai.