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Constitutional Crisis Looms Over Cherera's Resignation

  • Recent resignations by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) commissioners will likely cause a constitutional crisis, according to the renowned lawyer, Danston Omari, who represents former IEBC vice chairperson, Juliana Cherera.

    Following Cherera’s resignation, Omari claimed that the by-elections set for Garissa Township and Kandara constituencies and Elgeyo Marakwet County in January 2023 would only be conducted if the quorum of three is met. 

    “It is a massive constitutional crisis that the Kenya Kwanza administration has put us in today. If one of the commissioners dies today, none of the by-elections will be held today if the quorum of three is not met.

    “Will Chebukati exercise executive power as a chair when his constitutional term has expired? He cannot, who then will exercise the constitutional power of the chair of the commission?” Omari wondered while speaking on a morning show on NTV on Monday, December 5. 

    From leftIEBC Commissioners Juliana Cherera, Commissioner Abdi Guliye and Chairman Wafula Chebukati at the Bomas of Kenya on Monday, August 8, 2022

    From left: IEBC Vice Chairperson Juliana Cherera, Commissioner Abdi Guliye and Chairman Wafula Chebukati at the Bomas of Kenya on Monday, August 8, 2022.

    Kenyans.co.ke

    The vocal lawyer further argued that Cherera was hounded out of the office to ensure she does not take over the commission’s leadership as the acting chairperson.

    “Parliament has a committee created called Public Petitions Committee, that is supposed to hear matters of public petitions, yet this matter was allocated to the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC), thus the set tribunal was to ensure Cherera does not get to be handed over the office as acting chairperson of the commission,” Omari revealed.

    President William Ruto, on October 21, declared vacancies at the IEBC as poll body chairman Wafula Chebukati and two commissioners are set to proceed on terminal leave ahead of retirement.

    Chebukati and commissioners Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu are set to retire on January 17, having served a non-renewable term of six years at the electoral agency.

    Cherera resigned on Monday, December 5, in a letter addressed to President William Ruto. 

    “It is with immense woe that today I tender my resignation as commissioner and vice chairperson of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission,” she wrote.

    Her resignation came two days after IEBC commissioner Justice Nyang’aya resigned from his position.

    Nyanga’ya and three other commissioners were accused of attempting to subvert the people’s will by rejecting the declaration of William Ruto as president-elect on Monday, August 15. The two others are Commissioners Irene Masit and Francis Wanderi.

    Meanwhile, in March 2022, the Supreme Court ruled on the quorum of the IEBC, declaring that the commission can carry out elections with a minimum of three commissioners. 

    The High Court had argued the opposite, ruling that the IEBC was not properly constituted to vet signatures supporting the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), a constitutional amendment exercise declared null and void. 

    IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati presents President-elect William Ruto his election certificate at the Bomas of Kenya on Monday, August 15, 2022.

    IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati presents President William Ruto his election certificate at the Bomas of Kenya on Monday, August 15, 2022.

    William Ruto

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Jay Ndungu

Jay is a computer scientist and journalist with a passion for the intersection of technology and society. He has a background in computer science, developing a deep understanding of the technical aspects of the industry, including programming languages and software development methodologies. Currently, He writes for Nairobi Times, covering a wide range of topics including technology, politics, sports, and entertainment. With his unique combination of technical knowledge and journalistic experience, Jay brings a unique perspective to the stories he covers, able to explain complex technical concepts in an easy-to-understand manner. His work is dedicated to bridge the gap between technology and society, and to make people more aware of the potential of technology to make the world a better place.

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