Why Ex-IEBC Commissioner Irene Masit has gone into exile

Irene Masit, a former commissioner with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has gone into exile.

Masit who is among the four commissioners who challenged the election of William Ruto as President quietly left the country on Tuesday over what sources described as “unending and chilling” death threats, according to the Star.

Masit becomes the second high-profile IEBC official to flee the country in less than six years after Roselyn Akombe.

Akombe secretly left the country a week to the repeat of the 2017 presidential election following what she said were threats to her life “which she could not take lightly after the brutal murder of IT Manager Chris Msando.”

Masit who was fired from the helm of the IEBC by a tribunal is said to have been under a lot of pressure “from people known to her” to apologise for having opposed Ruto’s election.

However, Masit, a lawyer by training, reportedly rejected the push.

She insist her conscience is clear over the decision she took to oppose the presidential results

Despite her position, her adversaries would not relent.

The same people are reported to have gone back to her, this time with a different proposal: take her to a senior government official for a meeting.

However, Masit insisted that she could only attend the said meeting accompanied by her lawyer Donald Kipkorir”.

“They flatly rejected any idea of the lawyer accompanying her to the meeting and openly told her she would be lucky to live for 24 hours if she rejected the offer,” a source aware of the intrigues told the Star.

Shaken by the relentless threats, she quietly organised with a friend who bought her an air ticket.

Those aware of the details said the former commissioner left her house in pajamas in the cover of darkness, giving no hint she was flying out of the country.

Her destination remains unclear, but her first stop could be a country in North America or Europe, sources say.

It was not immediately clear if Masit reported the death threats to the police.

Her lawyer Kipkorir had promised to call back but had not done so at the time of going to press at 7Pm.

It is said Masit’s fear was compounded by the fact that her adversaries and the people they work for are people she has known for years.

Masit hails from Elgeyo Marakwet County and is well known by the country’s leading political elite.

In 2017, she unsuccessfully sought the Jubilee Party ticket to contest the Elgeyo Marakwet woman representative race.

In her affidavit, Masit turned the heat on then IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati, saying he bungled the presidential vote.

“The conduct of the chairman [WA] through the entire electoral process was whimsical and solely intended to invalidate the presidential election by rendering the said results cloudy and in effect overthrow the constitution,” she stated.

However, the decision to take on Chebukati and two other commissioners, Boya Molu and Abdi Guliye would soon return to haunt her.

Soon after the Supreme Court case, a petition was swiftly filed in Parliament for the removal of the four.

The National Assembly endorsed the petition and recommended the formation of a tribunal to investigate their conduct.

She alongside commissioners Juliana Cherera (vice chair), Justus Nyang’aya and Francis Wanderi had strongly opposed Ruto’s election and filed affidavits at the Supreme Court asking judges to set aside his win.

They famously became known as the ‘Cherera Four”. Her counterparts opted to resign rather than face the tribunal.

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