President William Ruto of Kenya has suspended four electoral commissioner officials who refused to endorse the results of the last presidential election, which took place on August 9th and delivered his win.
The officials in question refused to sign off on the results, claiming that they were not given adequate time to investigate potential irregularities. Ruto has accused them of bias and dereliction of duty, and has suspended them pending further investigation.
President Ruto on Friday announced a tribunal headed by a judge would investigate the four officials for serious violation of the law, gross misconduct and incompetence, which could see them ultimately sacked from their posts.
The tribunal will be tasked with investigating the officials and determining whether they should be removed from their positions. If the tribunal finds that the officials did indeed violate the law or were grossly incompetent, they could be removed from their posts.
But opposition leader Raila Odinga has condemned president Ruto’s move as the government’s plan to rig the coming elections in 2027. He said that Ruto is trying to take advantage of the fact that he is currently in charge of the government to resources and push his own agenda. This, Raila said, is not in the interests of the Kenyan people and is only meant to serve Ruto’s own interests.
According to Raila Odinga, the four commissioners are being forced out because President Ruto and his administration want a clean slate at the IEBC in order to fill it with their own supporters and allies in preparation for the 2027 elections. By doing so, President Ruto hopes to rig the elections in his favour and guarantee himself a victory. This is clearly a power grab on the part of the president, and it is not in the best interests of the Kenyan people.
The forced removal of the four commissioners is a major blow to the credibility of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission(IEBC), and it is sure to undermine the public’s confidence in the electoral process. This is a dangerous precedent that could have far-reaching implications for the stability of the country.
President Ruto’s announcement of the tribunal follows a recommendation by the national assembly to suspend the commissioners over their conduct during the August elections. The assembly found that the commissioners had not acted impartially and had not complied with the law. The tribunal will determine whether the commissioners should be removed from their positions.
President Ruto was declared the winner of the Kenyan presidential election after narrowly beating his rival, Mr Odinga, with 50.5% of the vote. The election was a close race, with Ruto only winning by a margin of 0.4%. Ruto’s victory marks a significant milestone for Kenya, as he is the country’s fifth president
The seven-member election commission, which is tasked with overseeing the polls and counting the votes, had been split on whether to certify the results. But four out of seven commissioners, including the vice-chairperson, said the tally was flawed and the result “opaque”.
The vice-chairperson said that the commission had found “serious irregularities” in the voting process, including missing ballots and discrepancies between the number of votes cast and the number of people who had been registered to vote.
The other three members of the commission, however, said that the irregularities were not enough to change the outcome of the election. They said that the commission had to take into account the fact that many people had voted using proxy ballots.