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TNA sanctions process to expel MP Priscilla Nyokabi over Uhuru ‘fixing’ at ICC

By ALLAN MUNGAI | Nov 30th 2014 | 5 min read

Pressure continues mounting on Nyeri Women Representative Priscilla Nyokabi to own up over claims she ‘fixed’ President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

What started like a thinly veiled attack against the 36-year-old MP has slowly snowballed into a vicious fight that threatens her hold of the coveted seat in the National Assembly.

Her sponsoring party, The National Alliance (TNA), has started a process, which if successful, would consign her to the political Siberia. What is haunting Nyokabi and has seen a number of activists trying to run her out of town, is her stint at the Kituo cha Sheria.

Although she has denied fixing Uhuru, her detractors will hear none of this and want to ensure she is expelled from the party.

With Nyokabi's supporters believing there is more than meets the eye in the crusade to de-whip her, the party’s national office has already sanctioned a process that would lead to her expulsion.

But what has confounded both friend and foe is Nyokabi’s resolve to keep off the debate. Earlier, she had come fighting and daring her rivals to a political duel.

Since TNA Nyeri branch office, her parent branch, summoned her for disciplinary action, the MP has refused to answer questions even after she snubbed the committee. When asked why she failed to honour the summons, the MP declined to comment. “I have nothing to say about that,” she said.

Now the committee is determined “to teach her a lesson” for failing to honour summons to show cause why she should not be disciplined over the witness coaching allegations.

When it met last Friday, the committee chaired by Nyeri TNA chairman Thuo Mathenge, waited for Nyokabi for the whole day in vain.

When she declined to appear, the committee held a closed-door meeting and passed a damning verdict: to expel her.

Apart from that, the committee resolved to recommend to the national office to remove Nyokabi from all parliamentary committees for defying summons, according to laid down procedures.

Mathenge asserted that any action taken against the Women Rep had been sanctioned by the party’s national secretariat.

He said he received a letter from Secretary General Onyango Oloo giving them the nod to go ahead with the meeting to which Nyokabi had been summoned. Party officials want the national secretariat to revoke her certificate and hand the former lawyer marching orders.

Speaking to The Standard On Sunday, Oloo confirmed that the national office had sanctioned the disciplinary process.

Oloo stressed that any intended disciplinary action taken against Nyokabi must adhere to provisions of Article 32(a) of the party constitution.

He confirmed he had received a letter from the TNA Nyeri branch detailing the allegations.

Party ideals

Oloo also said apart from providing the go-ahead, he had “encouraged the party officials to uphold the law that TNA was founded on.”

“I look forward to receiving detailed, impartial and just findings which are grounded in law and due process followed as highlighted under Article 32 of our constitution,” he said. Oloo added: “It is up to them to institute disciplinary proceedings and communicate the recommendations to the TNA National Oversight Board through me.”

The official was keen to point out that it was “not his business” to interfere with the operations of the grassroots party branches. He also said Uhuru, like other top party officials, was “disinterested in this thing”.

“I can confirm that I have not received any call from the President to discuss this issue. Neither has he talked to anyone else and directed them on the position to take”, he said.

He said that whatever was going on was “between Nyokabi and the local party branch”.

“Let them deliberate and forward their findings to us without involving anyone else. If she is innocent, let her appear before the tribunal and prove her innocence. The law of the party was written before these accusation surfaced therefore, the law will be applied as it was,” he noted.

Lead role

Arguably, as her supporters put it, it is her low key demeanour that makes her an easy target for her political detractors. As a newcomer in the political arena, Nyokabi’s welcome hasn’t been a warm one. In June at a function graced by the President, Othaya MP Mary Wambui and her Nyeri Town counterpart Esther Murugi opted to ignore the presence of the Women Rep, denying her a chance at the podium.

After the function, she vented her frustration at the action saying she was angry to have been in the programme but denied the opportunity to address the gathering.

Leading the charge against Nyokabi is David Matsanga, a Ugandan and anti-ICC crusader who was the first to claim the women MP was a fixer of Uhuru at The Hague.

Nyokabi has since come out to defend herself, highlighting the role that Kituo Cha Sheria played in relation to the 2008 post-election violence. She was the executive director.

She dismissed claims that the outfit she headed had been involved in witness coaching, insisting that Kituo cha Sheria’s role was identifying victims in an operation spearheaded by the government to resettle those displaced by the violence.

When the allegations were made, Nyokabi was away in Italy for official duty. And when she returned, she told a gathering at Gatugi PCEA Church in Nyeri that she, and her organisation, were not involved in coaching of witnesses.

“I have kept quiet over the accusations against me which have been trending in various section of the social media. It is true that I was in Kituo Cha Sheria, but the organisation was only engaged in the resettlement of IDPs who were displaced in the post-election violence,” said Nyokabi.

Nyokabi instead claimed the propaganda against her were started by people interested in taking over her position, and who are using all means to ensure they grab the seat.

She observed she was a TNA member, noting that she is actively ensuring that the Jubilee government implements its mandate before the next elections. Nyokabi added: “Those attacking me are my political enemies, but am advising them to wait until 2017 when they will have their day. We will go back to the electorate and seek votes, and I assure them I will win”.

Nyokabi claimed the social media war and the resolve to de-whip her were as a result of the unresolved leadership crisis at the TNA Nyeri branch. Divisions have emerged within the party ever since the election of Mathenge as party chairman. His election did sit well with some of the party supporters.

However, Oloo threw his weight behind Mathenge and rubbished the claims that he was not the legitimate party chairman.

“In a democracy, everyone is free to support whoever they feel they are best suited. There are those who do not even recognise Johnson Sakaja (TNA chairman) and me as party officials. It is expected”, said Oloo yesterday. Another group identifying itself as Jubilee Coalition United Nyeri County has come out in Nyokabi’s defence, criticising the recommendation that she be ejected from the party.

One enraged members said it was a “cheap ploy by the chairman and his henchmen to spread propaganda through social media to harass and discredit the law maker”.

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