A day after Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition leader Raila Odinga launched a scathing attack against President William Ruto, calling him a dictator in the making, but he has scoffed back.
Ruto, who swung to victory in the August General Election through hard hitting tweets has not taken the utterances by Azimio leaders Raila, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua lying down, in their protest to the ongoing public hearing by MPs in petitions seeking the removal of the christened “Cherera Four” from office.
In a number of tweets, the leaders exchanged bitterly over the ouster move to kick out the IEBC commissioners led by Vice Chairperson Juliana Cherera, Francis Wanderi, Justus Nyang’aya, and Irene Masit from office.
The Head of State in his characteristic social media tirade has called out the Azimio leader as lord of impunity in his early morning tweet.
“The Lords of impunity, who destroyed oversight institutions using the Handshake fraud, should allow parliament to hold rogue officials who put the nation in danger by subverting the democratic will of the people to be held to account,” said the President in a tweet.
He went on, “New order is RULE OF LAW not wishes of big men.”
The Azimio leaders on Thursday afternoon called on Kenyans to remain vigilant, arguing that Ruto was trying to take the country back to the dark day of Nyayo in his revenge mission against four, who termed the results declaring him the president-elect in the August polls as opaque.
“This matter is trivial, vindictive, and vile, Kenyan will not take this lying down, and will have grave consequences. We are here to sound a warning. No one should lie to this regime that we will sit back and watch them take us back to the Nyayo regime by another name,” Raila warned while speaking to the media at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation in Nairobi on Thursday, remarks that appear to have angered the Head of State.
Raila, Kalonzo, and Karua attended the morning session of the public hearing by the National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) at county Hall where their lieutenants Minority Whip Junet Mohammed and TJ Kajwang, member of the committee put up a spirited fight to block the hearing process of the case against the commissioners but flopped.
The MPs ganged up with the lawyers representing the commissioners to discredit the committee siting chaired my Tharaka MP George Murugara as usurping the powers of a tribunal to investigate them.
The Murugara-led committee has 15 members, Azimio coalition has 7 members. The petitions are by Republican Party, Rev Dennis Ndwiga Nthumbi, Geoffrey Lang’at, and Steve Gerry Owuor.
The Azimio leaders tore into Ruto’s style of leadership calling him a dictator in the making and probably going to be the worst in the history of the country after the Nyayo regime.
In particular, they rallied their supporters to resist any attempt to take the country to the past dark days, with Raila terming the hearing by four petitioners as a charade by Ruto to block Cherera from succeeding the IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati, whose term alongside that of Commissioners Boya Molu and Prof Abdi Guliye comes to an end on January 17th.
The three will have completed their six-year non-renewable term.
Azimio MPs and the commissioners’ lawyers staged a walked-out yesterday afternoon after their pleas to have Murugara rescind the committee’s decision to summon the commissioners hit a snag.
Battle lines are now drawn between Raila’s team and that of the president in the lasted public spat over the commissioners’ conduct during the polls after they disowned the presidential results.
But Raila has wasted no time in taking Ruto head on, his reply to the tweet, “There is due process and natural justice, things aren’t just done at the whims of the executive. The rule of law must prevail and not your jungle laws that you want to institute so as to subjugate Kenyans to a conveyor belt system of elections come 2017. We shall not relent.”
As the plot thickens, Junet is also breathing fire, accusing Ruto’s camp of holding a ‘kangaroo’ sitting to persecute the commissioners whose only crime was to do their work as stipulated in the law. Raila made reference to Article 259 of the constitution that insulates the commissioners from any wrongdoing in the cause of discharging their constitutional duty.
In another tweet, Junet has charged, “As a country experiencing unprecedented drought and hunger, millions of children out of school, millions of young people out of work, crimes surging in urban areas, your policy failures leading to high cost of living, shouldn’t waste public resources settling petty political scores.”
Azimio MPs have argued the committee’s action amounts to a travesty of justice and usurping the powers of the tribunal expected to probe their ouster bid. Their lawyers demanded to be furnished with claims levelled against their clients before the public hearing could officially commence.
In the petitions, the Republican Party accuse the four commissioners of violating the Constitution by rejecting the results and failing to meet the integrity test of the office they hold, thereby dishonouring the nation contrary to Article 71 of the Constitution.
The petitioner also says the officials acted in a manner that demean the office they hold contrary to Article 75 of the Constitution.
Rev Nthumbi accuses the commissioners of serious violation of the law, gross misconduct and incompetence in his petition.
Nthumbi also argues that the commissioners had erred in law by “acting in liaison with one faction in a presidential election” and that they had given in to proposals by the National Security Advisory Council (NSAC) to review the results, which they said was against the law. Junet has however called out Nthumbi as a youth winger of Ruto.
“When you start using UDA youth wingers to harass and attempt to remove constitutional office holders through frivolous kangaroo processes with dubious legal foundations, it wont be long before that route ends up at a new Nyayo torture chambers, “warned Junet.
For Lang’at and Owuor have similar claims.