Omtatah seeks to bar resigned IEBC commissioners from resuming office


Activist Okiya Omtata
Activist Okiya Omtata. Photo/COURTESY

In Summary

  • Omtatah’s application follows a dramatic standoff at the commission offices on Monday when Chairman Wafula Chebukati denied the three commissioners entry into their officers.
  • Their return came days after the High Court in Nairobi invalidated their resignation saying that they failed to follow the proper procedures when they stepped down.
  • Chebukati, however maintains that the resignation by the three was valid as they previously swore an affidavit saying that they wrote to the president.

Activist Okiya Omtatah now wants court to bar former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) officials who resigned from resuming office.

According to Omtatah, the three; Vice Chairperson Consolata Nkatha, commissioners Margaret Mwachanya and Paul Kurgat, stated under oath that they had formally resigned as IEBC commissioners by writing to the president on April 16, 2018.

He added that they had also handed over their offices and their salaries and benefits had been stopped by the commission.

Omtatah, in the application  filed at the Milimani Law Court, further wants the three commissioners restrained from conducting themselves in any way whatsoever as commissioners of the IEBC.

He also argued that the three – having resigned from office – have served their term and are ineligible to be re-appointed as IEBC commissioners given that Article 250 (6) (a) of the constitution provides that a member of a commission shall be appointed for a single term of six years and is not eligible for re-appointment.

Omtatah also claims that the six year term ended with the resignations.

The application follows a dramatic standoff at the commission offices on Monday when Chairman Wafula Chebukati denied the three commissioners entry into their offices.

“IEBC does not have offices of former commissioners… as far as we are concerned, they are not supposed to be working here,” said Chebukati.

The commissioners returned to their offices at Anniversary Towers in Nairobi on Friday.

Their return came 14 days after the High Court in Nairobi invalidated their resignation saying that they failed to follow the proper procedures when they stepped down.

While delivering the ruling, Justice Wilfrida Okwany indicated that the commissioners just tendered their resignation via a press statement instead of writing to the appointing authority.

Chebukati, however maintains that the resignation by the three was valid as they previously swore an affidavit saying that they wrote to the president.

“I don’t know whether the judge had all the information before her because as far as the commissioners are concerned, in another case filed by activist [Okiya] Omtatah, they swore an affidavit saying they wrote to the president, that is all they are required to do. The only shortcoming of that is they did not copy that letter to the commission,” he stated.

The commission boss further added that a replacement process for the three was underway.

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