Eyes on Cherera team as Supreme Court proposes IEBC reforms to avoid repeat

In what appeared to be a probable defining factor in the determination of President-elect William Ruto’s election victory on August 15, Chief Justice Martha Koome on Monday shredded the move by the four Commissioners who disputed the IEBC result in what would most likely be described as an uncoordinated effort to jumble with the will of the people.

As Kenyans awaited the news of their president-elect at about 3 p.m. on August 15, 2022, the commission announced a further delay, indicating that something was wrong. Kenyans, on the other hand, waited patiently.

About an hour later, our media houses showed a split screen, one from the Serena Hotel and the other from the National Tallying Centre in Bomas of Kenya.

On one end of the screen, IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati was about to announce Kenya’s next boss, while on the other, four IEBC Commissioners; Vice Chair Juliana Cherera and commissioners Justus Nyang’aya, Irene Masit, and Francis Wanderi were holding a press conference, eventually disowning the results that were about to be announced. The commissioners said it was ‘due to the opaque nature of the final process.

The IEBC split caused shockwaves all through the country, but thanks to Raila’ Odinga’s petition, the Supreme Court would eventually assist us clear this problem.

What did the Supreme Court say?

Raila Odinga’s petition identified all of the commissioners as respondents, which meant they had to respond or make arguments about the issue in question. Raila Odinga observed that because a majority of the commissioners rejected the results, the commission lacked a quorum and hence the outcome was illegitimate, null, and void.

Aside from their 11th-hour denial of the tallying and verification process, the Supreme Court stated that the four commissioners had not offered any evidence to suggest that the results were altered. The court also stated that they did not explain why they did not distance themselves from the murky procedure much earlier.

“Are we to nullify an election on the basis of a last-minute boardroom rupture?” CJ Martha Koome asked.

The court ruled that the chairperson cannot delegate authority to verify and tally presidential election results to the exclusion of other members of the commission. However, the court stated that the constitution allows him the authority to declare the results as a commission delegate.

The court determined that their claim of not being involved in the process was wrong because the four commissioners took the podium at Bomas severally to announce the results.

CJ Martha Koome stated that annulling the results due to a boardroom breakdown would be similar to subjecting the Kenyan people’s sovereign will to the IEBC’s quorum antics.

According to Martha Koome, the antics of the IEBC revealed serious malice in the governance of an organization charged with the colossal responsibility to midwife the nation’s democracy. Martha Koome proposed that the commission implement far-reaching reforms to prevent similar behavior in the future.

Not the first time

In 2017, an IEBC Commissioner resigned ahead of a presidential election re-run and fled to the United States. Following this, three commissioners resigned, alleging unlawful removal of the CEO and a lack of faith in the IEBC chairperson’s leadership.

Ultimately, the splits have demonstrated that it is not enough to invalidate an election.

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