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VAS

Yet another day of shambolic Jubilee elections

POLITICS
By Standard Team | December 16th 2016
Aspirant protests at Nyeri National polytechnic on 15 December 2016,during the meeting to select Jubilee Party interim officials in Nyeri which was marred by chaos. [PHOTO:KIBATA KIHU/STANDARD]

Chaos continued to mar the election of Jubilee Party (JP) county representatives for the third consecutive day, with aspirants claiming they were short-changed by the formulas used to pick officials.

This came even as a gubernatorial aspirant in Embu County quit, citing the botched nomination of interim officials. Kithinji Kiragu yesterday announced he was leaving the party, coming hot on the heels of a similar move by a nominated senator from Nakuru County, Paul Njoroge, who ditched JP for Kanu.

“Virtually all the key players want to capture the Jubilee Party secretariat using unorthodox means for the purpose of serving their own selfish political interests. They have neither the focus on JP goals nor the interests of the nation at heart,” said Mr Kiragu who added that his support for President Uhuru Kenyatta remained unwavering.

In at least two counties, violence marred the exercise that has become the newest cause of anger, divisions and political animosity in the larger Mt Kenya region.

On Wednesday, chaos broke out at Thingithu Secondary School in Nanyuki after members failed to agree on the formula to be used in picking the officials.

Aspirants led by Simon Mithamo accused the JP headquarters of imposing unfriendly formulas.

“We feel disadvantaged and we want the headquarters to tell us whether the incumbents are more powerful than the party. We elected six people from every constituency but we fear they were called to another venue after the violence broke out and went to pick county officials. But let the headquarters know that the list will not reflect the wishes of Laikipia people,” he said.

A meeting held at Nyeri National Polytechnic ended in disarray after aspirants protested against a formula used by the party headquarters to elect officials.

Led by parliamentary aspirant Duncan Maina and his senatorial counterpart Wambugu Nyamu, the aspirants claimed that the 6:6:6 formula of picking party representatives favoured incumbent leaders.

Kieni MP Kanini Kega and Deputy Governor Samuel Wamathai’s attempts to calm the crowd were cut short after one of the aspirants grabbed the microphone.

In Kiambu, a similar face-off was witnessed at Loreto Secondary School in Kiambu town where JP Secretary General Veronica Maina oversaw the elections.

The meeting was interrupted several times by petitions from some aspirants who accused the secretary general of not giving them a chance to air their concerns.

Despite the hiccups, the new officials elected were endorsed.

In Murang’a, lawyer Simon Kamau was elected chairman of the county party campaign committee in an exercise presided over by JP secretariat officer David Koech, who appreciated the leaders for conducting a peaceful election.

In Laikipia County, a number of leaders called for a repeat election. Led by Laikipia West MP Wachira Karani and Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Chairperson Irene Wachuka, the leaders vowed to reject the names forwarded to the party headquarters.

The MP urged the national office to disregard the names forwarded, saying no election was conducted.

Confusion also marred elections in Makueni County after a number of delegates accused KMTC Board Chairman Philip Kaloki of doctoring the list of proposed officials.

Police officers were hurriedly dispatched to the election hall in Emali town after several candidates rubbished as unrepresentative the list of officials.

“The proposed officials who finally made it through the elections from Kibwezi East constituency had been manufactured by Prof Kaloki for his own reasons and they will make us use unnecessary energy promoting Jubilee Party,” said one of the delegates, Jackline Muteti.

In addition, the delegates complained of “a sudden change” of the election venue from Wote town to Emali town. Calm was restored after Mbooni MP Kisoi Munyao offered guidance, saying each of the six key positions in the party should go to each of the six constituencies.

Joshua Matui from Kilome was elected chairman while a Kibwezi West delegate, Urbanus Mativa, was picked as the party’s organising secretary. Kaloki, who is eyeing the Kibwezi East parliamentary seat in next year’s elections, denied doctoring the list.

In Kericho County, gubernatorial candidate Richard Langat condemned the chaos that erupted during the election of officials at Kericho Tea Research Institute on Wednesday.

The election of 19 officials was disrupted temporarily when aspirants pushed their way into a hall where county MPs were finalising the list of officials along with those who had been nominated for various party posts.

The party, however, conducted a largely peaceful election in Bomet where former National Chamber of Commerce Bomet branch chairman Bernard Mutai was picked as the county interim chairman. Shadrack Rotich, a 2013 governorship aspirant, was elected Secretary General.

In Nyandarua, a group led by Aspirants Forum chairman Moses Ndegwa alleged there were plans by a group of incumbents to secretly change the names at the party’s head office.

WALK OUT

And in Trans Nzoia County, violence marred the exercise, forcing elected leaders to walk out. But polls in the neighbouring Elgeyo Marakwet County went on smoothly despite earlier fears of violence.

In Trans Nzoia, groups allied to URP, TNA and New Ford Kenya that folded to form JP clashed over the list of names of 18 people picked. Confusion began when aspirants presented their proposals over the mode to be used in the exercise.

Those from URP and TNA demanded more slots than their New Ford Kenya counterparts, claiming they were founder members before they joined JP.

In Busia, delegates from Teso North snubbed the exercise and accused Teso South MP Mary Emase of favouring candidates of her choice.

Trouble began when Ms Emase, who was spearheading the exercise, asked for a proposal for the seat of county chairperson. The majority of delegates unanimously demanded that the position should be given to a candidate from Teso South.

This angered Teso North delegates who accused Emase of having prior arrangements behind the scenes to have senior positions grabbed by her constituents.

Kizito Echakara, a delegate from Teso North, said they would not accept the results. The delegation angrily marched out of the venue before the exercise was concluded.

In Homa Bay, the elections aborted amid chaotic scenes following a clash between two rival factions.

RETURNING OFFICER

One of the factions planned to hold their elections within Homa Bay town while another group scheduled it for a hotel in Rodi Kopany, about 12km away.

Lawyer Atieno Otieno, who was the returning officer, had a difficult time cooling flared tempers.

Ms Otieno first held a meeting with the county security officers at Homa Bay Police Station but as the meeting progressed, delegates who had been waiting in Homa Bay town and Rodi Kopany arrived, causing panic at the station.

— Report by James Munyeki, Nikko Tanui, Osinde Obare, Lucas Ngasike, John Mondoh, James Omoro, Lydia Nyawira, Kamau Maichuhie, Job Weru, Boniface Gikandi Kevin Ngari and Erastus Mulwa

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