The scared Ruto legal team applied to have IEBC commissioners removed as respondents to the election petition case filed by Azimio in the Supreme Court.
With their participation in the suit, the lawyer says Ruto’s right to a fair trial will be compromised. Prof Kindiki adds that some of the commissioners are at loggerheads with the chairman Wafula Chebukati.
Ruto’s legal team has not understood the magnitude of the petition they are facing at the Supreme Court. They want Azimio to just petition the IEBC as a respondent and let Chebukati represent the institution and the other commissioners.
It should be basic common sense that Chebukati cannot represent or speak on behalf of the commissioners who disagreed with his presidential results because they said they were not verified by the commissioners and were Chebukati’s personal results. Four of the commissioners publicly denounced the results Chebukati was cooking and announcing and they gave very clear constitutional reasons why they rejected the one-man show results.
Even in his application Ruto lawyer Kindiki says “some of the commissioners are at loggerheads with the chairman Wafula Chebukati”. That is exactly why Chebukati cannot represent them.
Secondly in his own affidavit, Chebukati as the IEBC chairman made very serious allegations against the four commissioners claiming that they were asking him to doctor the results in favor of Raila Odinga the Azimio presidential candidate.
So how can the same Chebukati represent the commissioners he is making all these serious accusations against? In fact, Chebukati wants the commissioners who opposed his bogus election results to be reprimanded and punished. How can he speak for the same people at the Supreme Court? He calls them dissenting commissioners. The majority cannot be dissenting. It is the minority that dissents.
All the commissioners have filed their affidavits to inform the Supreme Court about the stand they took about the results he was announcing and it is public knowledge that two commissioners supported Chebukati and four of the commissioners rejected his results.
The primary issue before the Supreme Court is to determine whether the results announced by Chebukati were agreed upon by the commissioners which require a majority of the vote of the seven commissioners. It is not the job of Chebukati to tell the court which commissioners rejected his results and why they did so.
That is the job of those commissioners to tell the court and with all the accusations against them and considering their very clear positions of rejecting the results the commissioners will be subjected to cross-examination in court. Why are Ruto and his team scared of facing these commissioners?
In fact key Ruto operatives like Nanok are already trying to politicize the decision of the four commissioners by making very incendiary statements.
“The four commissioners are uncomfortable with the electoral victory of Ruto and indeed these commissioners have publicly stated their opposition to his victory. The four commissioners are in true sense petitioners and or proxies of the petitioners ingeniously included to be part of the respondents so as to compromise Ruto’s defense,” Nanok’s affidavit stated.
If Ruto and his team think they can get away with their electoral robbery by demonizing the commissioners who rejected the results and projecting them as Raila followers they are going to face a rude shock in court. The Supreme Court is going to want to hear from all parties involved in the electoral process and the announcement and the court will not tolerate political attacks on any commissioners.
The court has already gone through the affidavits of the commissioners and each one of them will talk to the court to say what exactly happened particularly at the Bomas Tallying center.
To put it mildly, there is no way Ruto and his team can marginalize any of the commissioners because they are at the heart of this petition case. The Ruto legal team would help themselves to understand that this case is very different from the 2017 petition. In that case, all the commissioners of the IEBC unanimously agreed with the results announced and there was no need to bring any of them before the court except the chairman.
The issue at that time was that the results that were announced were incorrect and at the end of the day, the Supreme Court agreed with the petitioners. This 2022 petition is completely different because effectively there are no IEBC results and someone was trying to bully IEBC commissioners to endorse illegal presidential election results.
This case may end once all the commissioners have testified before the court. Ruto has to be ready to deal with the commissioners. They cannot be wished away in this case.
In fact, as of Tuesday, August 30, 2022, the first day of the hearing the Supreme Court has thrown out the application by the Ruto team asking for commissioners to be removed from the list of respondents in the petition.
The court allowed the application to admit on record the replying affidavits of Juliana Cherera, Justus Nyangaya, Francis Wanderi, and Irene Masit.
This tells you that whatever plan the Ruto team had has flopped badly on day one. The Ruto idea was to eliminate the commissioners from being respondents so that Raila presents his petition and he has a head-on fight with Chebukati for days and everybody is quibbling about numbers and figures. The court has ruled that the four commissioners have a case to present and they will be allowed to do so.
The case before the court is between the commissioners and Ruto. I see Chebukati claiming that the form 34s submitted by Azimio are not legit even though Chebukati admits there may be irregularities in his tally.
None of those things matter because a majority of the commissioners were not allowed by Chebukati to verify the results and as a result, they refused to support unverified results.
Those alleged millions of papers submitted by Azimio may not be needed at all unless they want to pursue criminal offenses against Chebukati and his partners in crime. I don’t think that is the priority for Raila and Azimio at the Supreme Court. Criminal offenses can only be handled at the High Court.
Adongo Ogony is a Human Rights Activist and a Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada