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Wahome is accused of insulting IEBC officer in repeat presidential poll

By Kamau Maichuhie | October 29th 2017 at 02:30:54 GMT +0300

Kandara MP Alice Wahome with Murang'a University College Principal Prof Julius Nyabundi after a grilling session by parliamentary committee on education (PHOTO:BONIFACE GIKANDI)

The latest controversy involving Kandara MP Alice Wahome is one among many that have catapulted her to national limelight, albeit in not so good grounds. 

A second term MP, Wahome, who currently finds herself accused of insulting the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Kandara Returning Officer Martin Malonza, is not new to controversy.

A video clip showing the soft spoken MP’s other brutal side shocked the nation and set social media on fire on Friday.

The bone of contention between the MP and the electoral official that culminated into a physical confrontation was the signing of Form 34B, the presidential election statutory result declaration form.

Witnesses say Wahome accosted Mr Malonza at Ng’araria Girls Secondary School, accusing him of denying Jubilee agents the chance to sign the Form 34B.

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Under probe

In the video clip, the MP is seen grabbing Malonza, who is heard vowing to stand his ground.

Her actions caused an uproar on social media, with supporters of Jubilee Party and National Super Alliance clashing on what action should be taken against the MP.

IEBC condemned Wahome’s action, terming it an election offence that ought to be punished.

“We take great exception at the manner in which the MP harassed an IEBC official performing his duties. Such is an electoral offence that needs to be punished,” said IEBC in a statement.

Yesterday, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Keriako Tobiko asked Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet to investigate the incident. Murang’a Police Commander Naomi Ichami said the MP was under investigation. Four witnesses have already recorded statements.

“Investigations have been ordered to help ensure justice prevails and more statements will be recorded. The complainant in this matter is expected to record his statement ,” said Ichami.

Malonza was expected to record his statement yesterday evening after he completes his assignment at the Bomas National Tallying Centre in Nairobi.

Reports indicated that Wahome had kept the IBEC officer waiting at the tallying centre after she instructed agents not to sign any document in her absence. But the MP says she was called by the agents who told her that Mr Malonza had blocked them from signing the crucial Form 34B.

”I was just 10 minutes away from the centre and my agents called informing me that the returning officer had refused to let them sign the form. He did not pick my calls and so I asked my agents to wait for me to get there,” she said.

The MP said she had raised discrepancies in a form from one polling station.

“I wanted the returning officer to admit in his report that an entire stream had been left out. In my capacity as the constituency chief agent, this had to be on record. The returning officer had grabbed the forms from other agents and was trying to go away without them being signed,” she said.

Those who know Wahome well describe her as a strict no-nonsense person who does not take being provoked lying down.

Wrong reasons

“Wahome is a very good person who easily gets along with people. She is down to earth. However, when offended, she is a person who you do not want to go near. She is a a no-nonsense lady,” said a source who declined to be named. 

This is not the first time the MP is hogging the limelight for wrong reasons.

In September last year, Wahome and four aspirants seeking to unseat her in the August 8 polls were embroiled in a tussle over the control of Jubilee Party politics. The tussle culminated in two parallel party offices in Kandara town, just a few metres from each other.

The aspirants -- Samuel Kamau, Pius Ngugi, former MP Maina Kamau and Njuguna wa Ruth -- had accused the MP of opening the new constituency offices without involving them.

They said they were angered when the MP went round the constituency claiming she was President Uhuru Kenyatta’s preferred candidate. Wahome, however, dismissed the allegations, saying her rivals were scared of her.

Last year, the lawmaker found herself in the middle of a storm after she opposed the nomination of Justice Philomena Mwilu as Deputy Chief Justice, claiming Mwilu had received Sh3 million to dismiss an election petition the legislator had filed.

Condom scandal

Wahome wrote to the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee that vetted Mwilu requesting that Mwilu’s name be expunged from the list of candidates.

“Her integrity, moral character and impartiality do not meet the threshold outlined in the constitution,” Wahome said, adding that the matter has never been concluded.

In a letter to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), Wahome said she was willing to provide the required information so the agency could investigate the judge.

Wahome said Mwilu’s approval would violate the Constitution and requested the National Assembly to reject her nomination.

She threatened to move to court to block Mwilu’s swearing in if she was approved by the MPs.

In a rebuttal, Justice Mwilu told the committee that the MP’s claims stemmed from a ruling in an International Federation of Women Lawyers (Fida) case challenging the appointment of the Director of Public Prosecutions, which Wahome lost.

Ms Mwilu said since the MP, who is also a lawyer, lost the case in 2011, she had been on a mud-slinging mission against her.

She said the MP first placed a complaint against her with the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board, before which she (Wahome) testified for three hours. The board dismissed her claims for lack of evidence.

“She did not appear before the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) when I appeared to be interviewed for this position. I was depressed when I heard that my name was mentioned at a political rally where I could not reply to the allegations,” Mwilu told the committee.

The National Assembly approved Mwilu’s nomination, paving way for her appointment as Deputy Chief Justice

In January 2013, only two months to that year’s General Election, the MP -- then a candidate for the Kandara parliamentary seat -- was in news again after male condoms bearing her name were found in polling centres in the area.

“Alice gift to people of Kandara” read a statement printed on the condoms, urging residents to practice family planning. She however denied distributing the condoms.

Despite the setback, she went on to win, becoming the first woman to clinch the seat.

Alice Wahome IEBC Bomas National Tallying Centre
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