March 4th Movement faces fresh hurdle ahead of launch

M4M Chairman Okiya Omtatah in court on Wednesday. (Photo:Standard)
By Mwaniki Munuhe

Nairobi, Kenya: Controversy has stalked the March 4th Movement after a group claiming to have founded the lobby warned prominent personalities associated with the organisation against proceeding with the planned launch on Wednesday.

 In a letter obtained by The Standard, Kenneth Mwangi Mburu Advocates wrote to the movement’s Chairman Okiya Omtatah Wednesday accusing him of hijacking and using the group for political purposes.

Acting on behalf of Samson Owimba, Morgan Maosa and Grace Wairimu, who according to the letter founded the M4M, the lawyer accused Omtatah of using the lobby for his political fortunes.

 At the same time, Omtatah and Wycliffe Nyakina Wednesday moved to court seeking an order to allow the launch that seeks to get one million signatures from members of the public at City Hall to go on as planned.

The two petitioned the Nairobi County government for denying the Kenyans for Justice and development (Kejude) the venue to launch their hunt for the signatures in a bid to change the Constitution.

M4M was to be launched today, but the outfit was denied permission verbally after some politicians (Omtatah refused to name) said the group was illegal.

Legal battle

But in what could mar the plan, Maosa, Owimba and Wairimu told Omtatah to brace for a fierce legal battle should the launch proceed.

 The three said the movement was formed before the March 4, General Election for the purpose of sensitising Kenyans on the need for peaceful elections.

“We have instructions from the founder members of the well known March 4th Movement to notify the public and yourself of the purpose and objectives of the group as well as inform you to desist from the launch of your parallel activities running under the same name,” reads part of the letter.

The letter further adds: “It has come to the attention of the group that some of its members and more specifically yourself, have with the help of one side of the political divide decided and gone ahead to propel partisan agendas. The move is not only against the objectives of the group, but also guerilla like and against the spirit and letter of the Constitution. Our instructions are therefore to notify yourself to desist from the above said conduct, failure to which we have mandatory instructions to commence legal proceedings against you at your own risk as to cost and other attendant consequences.”

The three complainants have also sworn affidavits, copies of which The Standard obtained. Efforts to reach Omtatah for a comment were unsuccessful as his cell phone went unanswered. He is however expected to lead the launch of the group today.

Contacted for a comment, one of the complainants Samson Owimba said, “The first and foremost agenda of the caucus was achieved, in that the March 4 General Election was devoid of violence as witnessed in the previous election.

However, some political forces have since hijacked the goodwill of the founding members and are using M4M as a means to achieve their political disposition.”

Omtatah urged Judge David Majanja to declare the petition urgent. “The so called tyranny of numbers is hurting and cannot be allowed to continue by smaller tribes that also need to enjoy the presidency of this country,” he said. 

-Additional information by Kurian Musa

March 4th Movement Okiya Omtatah M4M