President Ruto fires Irene Masit as IEBC commissioner

President Ruto fires Irene Masit as IEBC commissioner

File imge of former IEBC Commissioner Irene Masit. PHOTO| COURTESY

President William Ruto has terminated the contract of Irene Masit as a commissioner at the Independent, Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) with immediate effect.

Ruto's move comes after the tribunal formed to consider the petition for removal of Juliana Cherera, Francis Wanderi, Masit and Justus Nyang’aya from office recommended that Masit be ousted.

In a gazette notice on Wednesday, Ruto, while noting that the recommendations of the tribunal are binding on him as the head of State, stated that the litany of gross violations of the constitution by Masit, as enumerated in the report of the Tribunal, meet the required threshold to have her removed from office.

"The appointment and tenure in office of Irene Cherop Masit as a member of the IEBC be and is terminated with immediate effect," said the President.

He likewise announced that Masit's former position was now officially vacant.

"In exercise of the powers conferred by section 7 (A) 1 C of the IEBC Act 2011, I William Samoei Ruto President and Commander in Chief of the Kenya Defense Forces declare a vacancy in the position of the sixth member of the IEBC," he said.

In its report to President Ruto last month, the Justice Aggrey Mucheule-led tribunal said the allegations of gross misconduct levelled against Commissioner Masit were proved to the required standard.

“Having considered all the evidence tendered, the Tribunal finds that the allegations on serious violation of the constitution and the law... against Commissioner Irene Masit have been proved to the required standard,” the tribunal said.

“Now therefore, this Tribunal recommends to Your Excellency, the President of the Republic of Kenya and Commander in Chief of the Defence Forces, 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.”

According to the constitution, Masit can no longer hold any public office. However, if aggrieved by the tribunal’s decision, she can file an appeal at the High Court.

Embattled Masit was sworn into office on September 2nd, 2021 alongside Juliana Cherera, Justus Nyang’aya and Francis Wanderi to replace commissioners who had exited the electoral body. Cherera, Nyang'aya and Wanderi opted not to face the Muchelule tribunal and instead resigned from the commission.

Meanwhile, the selection panel for the recruitment of the nominees for the appointment of new commissioners of IEBC is expected to be sworn in later this week.


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