Nairobi — President William Ruto has told off the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition over the ongoing ouster petition against the dissenting fourIndependent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC)Commissioners stressing they should allow parliament an opportunity to bring the “Cherera Four” to justice.
In a quick rejoinder, President Ruto said Friday that it is only right for parliament to hold IEBC Deputy Chairperson Juliana Cherera and commissioners Francis Mathenge, Irene Masit, and Justus Nyang’aya to account for what he described their attempt to subvert the will of the people during the August 9 polls.
The four had expressed reservations over the process that led to the declaration of Ruto as Kenya’s 5th President.
“The lords of impunity, who destroyed oversight institutions using the handshake fraud, should allow parliament to hold rogue officials who put the nation in danger by subverting the democratic will of the people to be held to account. New order is RULE of LAW not wishes of big men,” President Ruto said on his Twitter post.
President Ruto’s response comes a few hours after Azimio leader Raila Odinga described the ongoing hearing before the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) of the National Assembly on the removal of the four IEBC commissioners as a political witch-hunt.
The Opposition Chief claimed that the petition is being steamrolled by the Speakers of the National Assembly and the Senate and President Ruto.
Odinga went on to say that the outcome of the ongoing petition against the dissenting commissioners is already pre-determined and seeks to unlawfully kick them out of the IEBC
“The four Commissioners are supposed to appear before this Committee, be found guilty, and be made to appear before a tribunal to be set up by Ruto that will confirm their guilt. They will then be thrown out of IEBC,” he said.
He added that the “selective injustice” against the four commissioners takes place despite the existence of other petitions seeking the removal of Wafula Chebukati, Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu as commissioners of IEBC.
“The criminal Ruto stooges at IEBC are being protected and rewarded while those who fought for integrity of our elections are being punished,” Odinga said.
Odinga cited the petition by Milton Nyakundi Oriku dated 19th September 2022 against the three-Chebukati, Guliye and Molu- was received at the Main Records Unit of the Senate on 28th September 2022 which he said is yet to be tabled before the Senate.
He added that another petition dated October 17th was received at the National Assembly’s Main Records Unit on 25th October 2022 adding that the petition has not been brought before the National Assembly even as the same institution begins to grill Cherera and her colleagues.
The Azimio Coalition leader said that since Azimio Coalition accepted the Supreme Court ruling on the presidential election, the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) administration has proceeded on what he described a “path of impunity, witch hunt, and revenge.”
Odinga further claimed that president Ruto’s administration has continued to target institutions and individuals who opposed them during the past campaigns.
“The regime has also targeted those it believes it cannot trust to dance to UDA’s tune in 2027 elections,” he said, singling out the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and former DCI Director George Kinoti among the first victims.
Odinga noted that since the conclusion of the 2022 election cycle, the opposition has done its best to allow President Ruto time and space to heal and reconcile the country, but he has failed.
He went on to say that they have given “so much space” to President Ruto to a point “that a section of Kenyans think we (Opposition) have given up the fight”
“Unfortunately, Ruto too seems to think have surrendered. Instead of healing the land however, all we see is a leadership that is extremely keen to deepen and widen the bitter, partisan divide that existed during campaigns and even open new wounds,” Odinga said.
Odinga stated that despite the challenges being witnessed in the country, President Ruto’s administration is consumed with what he described exacting revenge and laying ground for stealing elections in 2027.
He argued that the petition against the Cherera Four is directly linked to the 2027 elections.
With the dissenting Commissioners out of IEBC, Odinga claimed that the Ruto administration wants to “pick a set of user-friendly commissioners to complete the capture of IEBC, for 2027 elections.”
“The musketeers at IEBC-Chebukati, Molu and Guliye have sworn not to hand over to Ms. Cherera and her team. That is why there is a rush on the four commissioners to ensure Chebukati has no one to hand over to come January,” he said.