President William Ruto, and Azimio La Umoja party leader, Raila Odinga were embroiled in a war of words online on Friday, November 25.
The head of state asked Raila to keep off parliamentary proceedings and allow the lawmakers to exercise their mandate in the ouster of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) dissenting commissioners.
Raila had accused the president of orchestrating a revenge mission against his perceived political adversaries.
In a rebuttal, the president told off Raila, adding that the ODM Party leader was responsible for the problems bedevilling the country. For the first time, Ruto also publicly spoke on the impeachment of the four commissioners, Juliana Cherera, Irene Masit, Justus Nyang’aya and Francis Wanderi.
“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.
“New order is the rule of law, not the wishes of big men,” Ruto tweeted.
In a rejoinder, Raila wasted no minute responding to Ruto, whom he accused of engaging in trivial matters.
“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 to subjugate Kenyans to a conveyor belt system of elections come 2027.
“We shall not relent,” Raila responded, as their confidants also joined and engaged in a Twitter battle.
Opposition leaders, led by Raila, Kalozo Musyoka and Martha Karua on Thursday, November 24, claimed that Ruto was leading a witch hunt against individuals who did not back his August 9 presidential bid.
In particular, the Azimio leaders singled out the petitions against the four top IEBC officials as an example of the Kenya Kwanza crackdown on perceived political enemies.
The opposition leaders also claimed that Ruto was going after institutions that his regime thought did not dance to its campaign tunes.
According to Raila, the four IEBC commissioners were targeted for expressing reservations over the process that led to the declaration of Ruto as President.
The hearing of four petitions that were filed before the National Assembly’s JLAC committee on Thursday, November 24, was rocked by chaotic scenes after MPs allied to Azimio stormed out of proceedings.
Earlier, led by minority chief whip, Junet Mohammed, the opposition MPs made spirited attempts to stop the proceedings by siding with lawyers representing the four commissioners, who wanted the petitions struck out on technicalities.
The petitioners want the four commissioners kicked out of office over rejecting the presidential election results declared by IEBC chairman, Wafula Chebukati.
The four, in August 2022, described the tail end of the vote verification and tallying process as “opaque” and distanced themselves from the results moments before Chebukati declared William Ruto the winner.