Okiya Omtatah goes to court to block Chebukati’s removal
Activist Okiya Omtatah has filed a case seeking orders to block the removal of Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati and the two remaining commissioners.
In the case, filed under a certificate of urgency, Mr Omtatah is asking the court to prohibit Parliament from initiating any move to kick out Mr Chebukati and Commissioners Abdi Yakub Guliye and Boya Molu from office, saying the trio can discharge their legal mandate.
He says the move to force the three commissioners from office violates Article 236 of the Constitution which prohibits victimization.
Mr Omtatah is also seeking to have the case certified urgent and a grant of prohibitory orders against IEBC, Parliament or the Attorney General from compelling the three to leave office before a special internal audit of the Sh60 billion allocated to the commission is finalized.
He claims the recent resignation of three commissioners was geared towards frustrating the special audit.
The three commissioners who resigned are former vice chairperson Connie Nkatha Maina, Margaret Mwachanya and Paul Kurgat. They cited lack of faith in Mr Chebukati’s leadership as their reason for leaving.
“It is in the overwhelming and compelling public interest that the respondents (IEBC, Parliament and the Attorney General) are restrained from doing anything to frustrate or remove the remaining commissioners from office, because if they are removed the ongoing special internal audit of the expenditure of the sum of Sh60billion will not realised,” stated Omtatah.
He is further asking the court to bar the respondents or their agents or any person claiming to act under their authority from doing anything whatsoever to remove the three from office.
Mr Omtatah is also pleading with the court to restrain the respondents from frustrating and inhibiting the three IEBC members from discharging their constitutional mandate under the law.
The activist says Article 250 (1) of the Constitution expressly provides that “each commission shall consist of at least three, but not more than nine members.”
Mr Omtatah says the demand that the three remaining commissioners either resigns or be hounded out of office, on grounds of the resignation of their colleagues threatens and violates Article 251(1) which articulates grounds upon which a commissioner may be removed.
Under this article, a member of a commission may be removed if he or she seriously violates the constitution or any other law including Chapters Six or due to gross misconduct.
Mr Omtatah further argues that the IEBC Act 2011, which fixes the quorum at five, contravenes both the spirit and letter of Article 250 (1) of the Constitution and therefore that requirement is invalid, null and void ab initio (from the beginning).