Religious leaders ask Opposition to follow law in IEBC dispute

May 18, 2016 6:56 pm
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The religious leader who met the IEBC officials on Wednesday afternoon led by the General Secretary of the National Council of Churches of Kenya, Reverend Canon Peter Karanja, insisted that the due process of the law must be followed/MIKE KARIUKI
The religious leader who met the IEBC officials on Wednesday afternoon led by the General Secretary of the National Council of Churches of Kenya, Reverend Canon Peter Karanja, insisted that the due process of the law must be followed/MIKE KARIUKI

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 18 – Religious leaders in the country say officials of the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) can only be removed from office within the confines of the law.

The religious leader who met the IEBC officials on Wednesday afternoon led by the General Secretary of the National Council of Churches of Kenya, Reverend Canon Peter Karanja, insisted that the due process of the law must be followed.

“At this stage, our questions have been answered and we have understood their side of the story,” he said. “They will not resign their position but they will challenge protagonists around IEBC to follow the due process of the law.”

He urged political leaders to carry out the necessary measures expeditiously, since the elections are just a few months away.

“It is imperative that this debate is closed quickly, so that the country can settle to prepare for elections,” he appealed.

Also present were the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The religious leaders said they have since urged the Opposition leaders to call off their protests against IEBC and instead petition Parliament to address their grievances.

“We want a consensus that does not take debate to the streets,” he said.

The religious leaders had met CORD principals led by Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka on Tuesday.

IEBC Chairperson Issack Hassan on his part insisted that the commission will stay put and will only vacate office through the right channel, as enshrined in the Constitution.

“The commissioners hold their offices by virtue of the Constitution. We will continue to discharge our duties and we will not resign,” Hassan said.

He said the commission was prepared to carry out 2017 General Election as scheduled.

On Tuesday, Hassan put on a brave face stating that they will not resign from office, and in a spirited defence maintained their innocence against claims by the Opposition that they have been compromised.

Hassan told the House Justice and Legal Affairs Committee that they would only leave office if Parliament found them guilty of any wrongdoing.

“Sometimes we feel like we are being told just accept and plead guilty, we will have some mitigation for you; but that is not something that we will accept… with all due respect, we are not guilty of anything, we’d rather go to jail to protest our innocence,” Hassan said.

The IEBC chief stated that the commission has been subjected to extreme injustices and falsehoods which have created a negative image against them.

He emphasised that the commission will continue to undertake its duties without fear or favour.

“It will be a tragedy if you changed your name to Injustice and Illegal Committee, you must be the first people to promote justice and the rule of the law. I don’t think it will be right for this committee to organise the meeting where other members can be called because that will become another forum which is very ugly and giving people the power and the audience and the publicity to insult because we have encountered in some of these forums what I would consider market place insults and not civil discussions,” said the IEBC boss.

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