Azimio MPs, ‘Cherera 4’ lawyers storm out of JLAC hearing in protest

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition allied MPs and lawyers representing four IEBC commissioners stormed out of the first hearing of petitions seeking to remove the latter from office.

The two parties left the hearing minutes after a brief boardroom meeting to determine whether or not JLAC had the jurisdiction to listen to the petitions.

The minority side in the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) left claiming unfair treatment by the Committee chair Tharaka Nithi MP George Gitonga Murugara.

JLAC unanimously voted that it has the authority to hear petitions seeking the expulsion of four IEBC commissioners.

“We have agreed not unanimously but through a majority that this committee is the most appropriate to hear the matter. We have relied on Article 251 of the Constitution and our own Standing Orders from 220, 223, and 230 which deal with how petitions are presented to the House and how they are processed,” said Gitonga.

According to Gitonga, the four petitioners, Reverend Dennis Ndwiga Nthumbi, the Republican Party, Geoffrey Langat, and Owuor Steve Gerry followed the laid out procedures.

“Petitions by the public are sent to the Clerk who when satisfied that it discloses possible grounds forwards it to the Speaker. They are then tabled in the House and allocated to the relevant committee. This is exactly what the petitioners did here,” he said.

Minority Leader Junet Mohamed said the decision was hurried and disowned it. He said, “We have not gotten enough time to discuss and digest the decision. A hurried decision was made and there was no proper voting.”

The lawyers representing IEBC deputy chairperson Juliana Cherera and commissioners Francis Mathenge, Irene Masit, and Justus Nyang’aya argue that Parliament should not have been the first point of call in the bid to remove them from office.

Advocate Jotham Arwa argues that JLAC has no jurisdiction to hear the petitions, arguing that the matter should have been referred to IEBC and to the Public Service Commission as required under 234 (2b).

“Mr Chairman it is a requirement of your own Standing Orders number 22 and 23 (f) that before petitions can be received they must indicate that they had referred the matter in question to the relevant body. Parliament should not be the first point of call,” said Arwa.

The four commissioners through their lawyers withdrew from the proceedings maintaining the committee has no jurisdiction.

“We believe that the committee has no jurisdiction and we feel that if the committee insists on going on, we will not be party to the process,” said Arwa.

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