NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 19 – The Justice and Legal Affairs Committee of the National Assembly on Tuesday recommended that the House rejects a petition by Bungoma resident Barasa Nyukuri seeking dismissal of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Chairman and eight Commissioners.
Majority of MPs in the committee agreed that upon due considerations and review of the presentations and materials made available, they did not find a prima facie case against Issack Hassan and other commissioners over claims of incompetence and lack of integrity or violation of any laws.
The Samuel Chepkonga led team resolved to recommend to the House that the matter together with the petition should not be recommended to the President to appoint a Tribunal.
“Having considered the provisions of Articles 82, 83, 88 and 251 of the Constitution and having considered the provisions of Chapter Six of the Constitution, the Elections Act, IEBC Act, the Public Procurement and Disposals Act, and the provisions of the Petitions to the Parliament (Procedure) Act, the judgment in the High Court Petition No. 356 of 2014 expunging adverse references in the Special Audit Report 6th June 2014 and Standing Order No. 203 of the National Assembly, the committee recommends to the House that the petition does not disclose grounds for the removal of the members of the commission,” they recommended.
On the allegations of incompetence based on the procurement as contained in the Special Audit Report, the committee by majority found that the report by the Auditor General was not fair to members of the commission as they were not given an opportunity to present their views.
“The Auditor General was in total violation of the Commissioners’ fundamental rights under Articles 25 (c) and 50 of the Constitution on the right to fair trial and hearing,” the JLAC report stated.
The committee further weakened the petitioner’s case after it shot down his over-reliance on the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee Report to prove his allegations.
“The committee finds that the report is a product of the Special Audit Report and is still pending in the National Assembly and therefore cannot be used as an authority in prosecuting this petition,” JLAC stated.
House Speaker Justin Muturi received the petition on June 17 and directed the committee to begin work towards establishing whether it meets the constitutional requirement to send the IEBC Commissioners home.
In 2014 the IEBC Commissioners survived another petition after the Legal Affairs Committee dismissed a petition by activist Wafula Buke seeking to disband the electoral body.
The committee report will guide the House on its deliberations on whether the petition satisfies the grounds for removal of the IEBC officers as provided in Chapter 251, Article 1 and 2 of the Constitution.
Hassan and the eight commissioners had asked the committee to dismiss the petition because “incompetent, misconceived and filed in bad faith”.