Supreme Court Dismisses IEBC Case on Sabina Chege Election Rigging Claim

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The Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal filed by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) against Nominated Member of Parliament Sabina Chege, which accused her of making allegations insinuating that the 2017 election was rigged in favour of former President Uhuru Kenyatta.

In a ruling delivered on Tuesday, the five-judge bench said that the Commission’s evidence was inconclusive in nature and lacked merit.

Additionally, the court struck out summons issued by the electoral body asking the politician to appear before the commission to justify her claims, ruling that IEBC failed to comply with the court’s rules.

“The Supreme Court, however, noted that the appellant (IEBC) other than stating in its pleadings did not adduce any evidence to confirm that indeed the Jubilee Party subscribed to the Electoral Code for the election period which time was running from the January 20, 2022 to the declaration of the results of the general election that were held on August 9, 2022,” the Supreme Court judges ruled.

EALA MP Kanini Kega (left) and nominated MP Sabina Chege (right) during an event at Jubilee Headquarters on April 19, 2023.

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Kanini Kega

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) while summoning Chege, referenced its Electoral Code of Conduct, which requires politicians to conduct themselves with decorum in relation to elections.

IEBC submitted that Chege’s claims brought the agency’s credibility into question.

However, the Supreme Court ruled that the Electoral Code of Conduct, a constitutional document, cannot be used as reference for such summons. 

At the Appellate Court, IEBC had appealed the court’s decision to throw out its ruling throwing out the case stopping the agency from summoning the politician.

The Court of Appeal had initially upheld the High Court’s decision dismissing IEBC’s summons to the politician on grounds that the case lacked merit.

The commission had summoned the MP to appear before its disciplinary committee on February 15 2022, lamenting that the comments alleging that the election was rigged raised credibility questions on the commission’s capacity to deliver free and fair elections.

Dissatisfied with the summons, Chege moved to the High Court on February 22, 2022, seeking orders to block the electoral body from proceeding with the matter.

In court documents, Chege argued that IEBC did not have grounds to proceed with the hearings, explaining that she had not yet declared her interest to vie for any political position in the August 9 polls.

The lawmaker also submitted that the committee’s proceedings were initiated in bad faith. She also alleged existence of plans to block her from contesting in the 2022 elections.

Justice Antony Mrima of the High Court ruled in favour of Chege and dismissed the summons issued to her to appear before the disciplinary committee.

Dissatisfied with the High Court’s ruling, the IEBC proceeded to the Court of Appeal to have the High Court’s decision thrown out.

IEBC based its appeal on five grounds; whether Chege was bound by code, whether the Committee had jurisdiction to summon her, whether parts of the Electoral Conduct was unconstitutional, whether IEBC was entitled to the reliefs sought in the appeal and what remedies were appropriate under the circumstances.

However, the Appellate Court has now ruled in favour of Chege.

“We hereby direct that, the sum of Ksh6,000 deposited as security for costs upon lodging this appeal, be refunded to the Commission,” the Court of Appeal ruled.

Kenyans vote at Rongai Constituency, Nakuru County during the August 9, 2022, General Election.

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IEBC



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