President William Ruto has appointed seven members to a selection panel that will recruit new commissioners of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
In a gazette notice on Monday, February 27, President Ruto tasked the members with the responsibility of nominating persons for appointment to fill the positions of IEBC chairperson and commissioners.
The Selection Panel features representatives of the Parliamentary Service Commission, the Public Service Commission (PSC), the Political Parties Liaison Committee (PPLC), the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), and the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya.
They are Bethuel Sugut, Novince Euralia Atieno, Charity S. Kisotu, Evans Misati James, Benson Ngugi Njeri and Fatuma Saman.
"In exercise of the powers conferred by section 7A of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Act. 2011 (the Act), as read with Paragraph 1 (2) of the First Schedule to the Act. I. William Samoei Ruto, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces appoint (List) to be members of the Selection Panel for the Recruitment of Nominees for Appointment as the Chairperson and Members of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission," the gazette notice reads.
The declaration comes two weeks after Ruto declared six vacancies at the IEBC, paving the way for the recruitment of new commissioners.
“In exercise of the powers conferred by section 7A (2) of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Act, 2011 as read with paragraph I (I) of the First Schedule to the Act, I, William Samoei Ruto, President of the Republic of Kenya and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces, declare vacancies in the positions of—(a) Chairperson; and (b) Five Members of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission,” Ruto said.
The tenure of IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati, and commissioners Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu expired last month after six years in office.
Three other electoral officials including former IEBC Vice-chairperson Juliana Cherera, and commissioners Justus Nyang'aya and Francis Wanderi resigned last year following allegations of violation of the constitution and gross misconduct in the last general election.
A tribunal constituted to probe the three and their colleague Irene Masit, who disowned presidential results announced by Chebukati on August 15, 2022, submitted its report to President Ruto on Monday, recommending the removal of the commissioner from office.
In its report, the tribunal chaired by Court of Appeal judge Aggrey Muchelule said allegations that Commissioner Masit agreed to a request made by some members of the National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC) to moderate results in last year's presidential election were proved.
Further, the tribunal stated that the actions by Masit and her colleague to disown the presidential results announced by the former IEBC chair amounted to gross misconduct.
"From the analysis of evidence on record, it is our finding that Commissioner Irene Masit’s actions of 15th August 2022 of agreeing to the proposal by the two delegations to moderate the result of the Presidential Election to enable a re-run with the promise that there would be a reward if this was done amounts to gross misconduct on her part," the report reads in part.
"Secondly, the actions by the Commissioners to proceed to Serena to issue the presser to disown the result that she had participated in tallying and verifying were intended to undermine and erode public trust in the commission and to the result. In our considered view, these actions amounted to gross misconduct.
"This Tribunal recommends to the President pursuant to the mandate assigned vide Gazette Notice No. 14890 of 2nd December 2022, and further in accordance and in compliance with Article 251(1) and (6) that Commissioner Irene Cherop Masit be removed from office as a member of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission," the document added.
Masit is the last commissioner standing after her three former colleagues opted to resign rather than face the tribunal.
The President is yet to take action against the remaining commissioner.