, NAIROBI, Kenya, July 1 – Political activist Wafula Buke who is seeking the removal of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Issack Hassan and nine commissioners has been given until Thursday to appear before a National Assembly committee handling the matter.
Justice and Legal Affairs Committee Chairman Samuel Chepkonga said Buke’s lawyer had written to them requesting 10 more days to collect evidence.
“If he was here we would have asked him more questions so that he can tell us what he views as incompetence of the IEBC, but as it is right now we will have to place ourselves in his mind. It will be helpful if he came, because this is a very important petition because everybody has talked about the incompetence of the IEBC, this is the only committee that can deal with the matter in a very legal way, (outside of the courts),” he said.
Kiharu MP Irungu Kangata however urged his colleagues to dismiss the petition saying the activist is not serious.
“I ask that we dismiss this petition, because the petitioner has failed to come. In any event, we have timelines provided for by the Standing Order which if you fail to adhere to it even if you bring it to the floor of the House it will be invalid.”
“I don’t think this petition is meant to cure anything,” he said.
Homa Bay MP Peter Kaluma, Kisumu Town West MP Olago Aluoch and Ruaraka MP Tom Kajwang said the committee should issue summons compelling Buke to appear and elaborate his allegations.
“Anything happening to any commission and of course the IEBC in particular is a matter of high public interest, chair, because of that I wanted to dissuade you and my honourable colleagues that we don’t talk issues of dismissal of the petition as committee we may only consider the petition,” Kaluma stated.
“We may agree or disagree with the petition but we must also appreciate that it is not frivolous. We need to give it some weight, and that is why I am saying that Honourable Kangata is going about it the wrong way,” Aluoch added. “The absence of the petitioner is not grounds for dismissal.”
Kuresoi North MP Moses Cheboi and Nyeri County Woman Representative Priscilla Nyokabi however objected to the introduction of summons saying that it would be tantamount to intimidating future petitioners, who may want to come forth with information.
Mwingi North Muneve Mati insisted on the need for summons claiming the leaving the process that way, will amount to an abuse of the process by ‘any Kenyan seeking to be famous’.
The IEBC Chair and Commissioners, who have already submitted a written response to the petition are expected to appear on Tuesday next week.
The House Committee is expected to submit its report to the House for debate and adoption by July 17.
In his petition, Buke wants Parliament to find that the commission violated the Constitution in the manner it handled the disputed presidential poll where President Uhuru Kenyatta beat CORD leader Raila Odinga.
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 Lilian Mahiri-Zaja (vice-chairperson), Abdullahi Sharawe, Thomas Letangule, Mohamed Alawi Hussun, Albert Camus Onyango Bwire, Kule Galma Godana, Yusuf Nzibo and Muthoni Wangai.
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.