Ruto dismisses Raila’s protest on IEBC chiefs selection team

Written by on 13 March 2023

President William Ruto has declared that he will not honour Azimio leader Raila’s Odinga’s demands that recruiting of the new polls agency team be halted, saying he followed the law while forming the recruitment panel.

Speaking at a church service at Kirubia Stadium, Chuka, Tharaka Nithi County, said the selection panel will continue with its work stating that that he will not be intimidated by demands set out by Azimio leader Raila Odinga.

“I will not operate outside the law. I will not operate outside the Constitution. I will ensure that everyone in Kenya is governed by the law. The IEBC selection committee has been constituted according to the law. Every institution that was supposed to front a representative has already done so,” he said.

He added: “What I did is just to gazette the panel. I don’t have any individual that I have fronted to represent my interests. The constitution does not have any provisions that can allow the President to front anyone. I will not do what our friends in the opposition are telling me to do. They want to have their personal interests represented and will not succumb to that. If we follow that route we will be promoting impunity in Kenya.”

Selection panel

Ruto said every stakeholder that is supposed to have their representative has already done so and he will stand by the current panel in place.

“Those of you who are used to operating with impunity I want to tell them that Kenya is going to proceed under the full guidance of the Constitution. If anybody has a problem with any part of the Constitution please amend that part. Once it is amended we will all follow,” he said.

The recently passed the IEBC (Amendment) Bill 2022 altered the first schedule of the parent Act, to change the composition of the selection panel that oversees the filling of vacancies at the commission.

The bill which the President assented into law in January proposes expansion of the IEBC selection panel to include two slots for the Parliamentary Service Commission, the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya to have two slots, one slot for the Public Service Commission and another slot each for the Political Parties Liaison Committee and the Law Society of Kenya.

Those in the selection panel are Bethuel Sugut and Novice Euralia Atieno, who represent the Parliamentary Service Commission.

In the Gazette notice is also Charity Kisotu, the vice chairperson of the Public Service Commission (PSC), and Evans Misati James from the Political Parties Liaison Committee.

The Law Society of Kenya is represented by Benson Ngugi Njeri while Nelson Makanda and Fatuma Saman represent the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya.

Makanda, a preacher and theologian, was picked to chair the panel that has already advertised vacancies in the commission.

Raila who accuses the IEBC of denying him victory in the last General Election claims that President Ruto was determined to single-handedly influence recruitment of the new team.

IEBC servers

He has taken issue with the procedure adopted by Kenya Kwanza in filling slots in the selection panel saying all parties should be allowed to pick nominees who will select commissioners for the agency.

“Kenya does not belong to one person. We must end the culture of stealing votes and that is why we want IEBC commissioners to be selected by all political parties and not a unilateral decision,” Raila said in Narok.

Raila has used the IEBC as his major tool to attack the Kenya Kwanza administration in his anti-government protests.

The ODM leader has also been pushing the government to open IEBC servers claiming that he won with 8.1 million votes while Ruto got 5.9 million votes.

Yesterday, Ruto said that since he assumed office, his administration had managed to tackle major problems that affect the country.

Ruto said he had arrested borrowing money in a bid to manage the ballooning public debt.

The Head of State said he had made a breakthrough in stabilising the economy.

Ruto said increased borrowing to finance recurrent and development expenditures had aggravated public debt.

He also maintained that the government will not backtrack on its decision to scrap subsidies on essential commodities even as the opposition threatens mass action to protest against the high cost of living.

“No force will make me reverse subsidies. They were only benefiting a few Kenyans. Instead of subsidies we are working with farmers to ensure we have enough produce that can feed the whole nation,” he said.

He also said that his administration had managed to address the burden of extra-judicial killings. He said they had agreed with police bosses that they will operate within the law.

“Our security agencies are now operating under the guidance of the law,” he said.

Last week, legislators from Kenya Kwanza Alliance said they will commence investigations into extra-judicial killings.

The Head of State said, the country was now on the right track to allow him fulfil the promises he made to Kenyans.

“I am very happy to announce today that Kenya is on sound footing. We have addressed some of the bottlenecks that were a big challenge. We are currently handling the budget process and Kenyans should expect good things,” he said.

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