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Power struggle within ODM behind postponed elections – Weekly Citizen

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The desire to give Orange Democratic Movement a national outlook ahead of the 2022 election forced Raila Odinga to postpone the much-awaited grassroots polls that were scheduled for March this year.

Others say that Raila wants Jubilee to hold party polls then follow after reading the mood on ground during the ruling party elections that is already divided down the middle.

Sources say that the postponement had nothing to do with BBI politics but the current bitter war within Raila kitchen cabinet. The war is so serious that a section of members do not greet each other. An example is that of MP Millie Odhiambo and Homa Bay women rep Gladys Wanga.

There were also fears that deputy president William Ruto could try to use his immense wealth to sponsor candidates, particularly in Jubilee strongholds, to undermine Raila and thus derail his presidential ambitions.

The ODM leader, according to insiders, also wants to strengthen the party by incorporating some of his kitchen cabinet members who are solidly behind the Building Bridges Initiative in the party’s governance structure.

Most notable inclusion in the party’s governance structure will be Siaya senator James Orengo, who has returned to the fold after falling out with his boss over the Ugenya by-election debacle where David Ochieng of the Movement for Democracy and Growth defeated the Orange party’s candidate Chris Karan.

Orengo

Orengo led Karan’s campaigns, which ended in humiliating defeat.

The Siaya senator wormed his way to Raila after he played a pivotal role in Kibra by-election where ODM candidate, Imran Okoth, carried the day by beating the well-oiled Jubilee candidate, footballer MacDonald Mariga.

Orengo has now become one of Raila’s most trusted allies, and even represented him during the burial of second liberation hero Charles Rubia in Murang’a county in December last year.

The return of Orengo into ODM’s political fold has not been received well by ODM chairman John Mbadi and director of operations, the versatile Junet Mohammed.

Junet

The Mbadi-Junnet camp also has Wanga. Wanga is key in BBI campaigns overshadowing Millie who decided to skip Embrace Kenya Women team which Wanga was the chairlady.

The late Rubia and late Kenneth Matiba alongside Raila were detained by former president Daniel arap Moi in 1990s for agitating for the reintroduction of multiparty politics.

Indeed, since the aborted elections on February 28 2014 where chaos was stagemanaged to avert it, there have been calls for ODM to conduct countrywide grassroots polls to give the opposition party a national outlook and claim.

The 2014 polls aborted after a group of delegates led by then nominated MP Isaac Mwaura caused mayhem at the Kasarani Sports Gymnasium.

Mwaura has since defected to the Jubilee Party which nominated him to the senate to represent the special interests groups.

During the polls, trouble started when men dressed in black suits overturned tables, smashed ballot boxes and destroyed election materials, infront of Raila insisting that the polls could not proceed unless they were furnished with the party register of its bona fide members. The choreographed chaos was according to some quarters aimed at stopping Mombasa governor and then Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba camp from snatching the party leadership.

Namwamba

Attempts by then outgoing secretary general Anyang Nyong’o to restore order were ignored as it fell on deaf ears.

Before trouble started, Mwaura had climbed on top of one of the tables to attract attention, claiming people were ignoring him.

Raila blamed the violence allegedly on “enemies of the party,” saying the matter was being investigated to determine the cause the rumpus. The investigations have never been made public with word that Raila himself was part of the scheme to disarray the elections exercise. A woman delegate from Kibera narrated how she and others had rushed to a room in the gymnasium to alert Raila that goons had taken over only for Raila, whom she said had, to their surprise, now changed into different cloths, to retort that they go home.

A few days after the mayhem, Raila picked new officials who were expected to be endorsed by the national governing council.

In a move that was seen as an attempt to appease the two factions that battled it out in the botched elections, Raila was named as party leader while Joho and his Kakamega counterpart Wycliffe Oparanya were made his two deputies.

Oparanya

Namwamba now the chief administrative secretary in the ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, was named the secretary general with then senators Elizabeth Ongoro and Agnes Zani as the deputies. Namwamba is now allied to Ruto in Uhuru Kenyatta succession game.

Namwamba was to resign as ODM secretary general on July 6 2016 after falling out with Raila.

His resignation came barely a week after the party’s then vice chair Paul Otuoma had resigned from his position saying that ODM lacked internal democracy. Otuoma is slowly winning his way back to Raila as he eyes Busia governorship 2022.

Namwamba had also accused his party of giving him a raw deal by making him a ‘powerless’ secretary general.

In February 2018, ODM national executive council picked Edwin Sifuna for the post of secretary general to replace Namwamba. Sifuna like Namwamba, is a Luhya from Bungoma while Namwamba is from neighbouring Busia.

His appointment was meant to counter Ford-K leader Moses Wetang’ula in Bukusu politics. ODM had sponsored Sifuna to oppose Wetang’ula in the senatorial contest in 2017 as many wondered aloud why Raila could let Wetang’ula, then a co-principal in Nasa, to be opposed in his own dominion.

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Ongoro

During the closed-door meeting held at Orange House chaired by Raila, members deliberated on the most suitable candidates to fill vacant positions.

After several hours, the top leadership, which was weighing between Norman Magaya and Sifuna, settled on the latter as the party’s spokesperson. The position was being held by Zani in an acting capacity.Sifuna is in Junnet-Mbadi camp that calls the shots in ODM.

The Orengo camp has seasoned politicians among them, majority of current governors on ODM ticket, Reports indicate that Raila wants to crack the whip on party Young Turks after they almost bungled Kibra by-election nominations with bribery claims surfacing. It forced Raila to refund nomination fee to other aspirants.

At the time, Joho and Oparanya continue to serve as deputy leaders while Mbadi remains the national chairman.

The list had Turkana governor Josphat Nanok, who was the Council of Governors chairman, as vice chairperson alongside Janet Ongera who replaced Otuoma, Thomas Mwadeghu who took over from Adan Keynan and Christine Lemein.

Deputy secretary generals Zani and Busia woman representative Florence Mutua replaced Ongoro.

Other officials are national treasurer, Timothy Bosire, deputy treasurer Ogla Karani, deputy treasurer Hilda Siang’a, national organising secretary, Abdikadir Aden and deputy organising secretaries, Fatuma Ibrahim.

Others are Owen Baya who replaced Reuben Ndolo, Rosa Buyu and Suleiman Dori, secretary for public policy and economic affairs, Jared Okelo who took over from Steven Kariuki secretary for legal and constitutional affairs, Timothy Wanyonyi secretary for publicity and information, Denitah Ghatti secretary for international affairs, Esther Passaris who replaced Joyce Lay as secretary of regional affairs, Tabitha Seii secretary for women affairs/ (ODM women league leader), Beth Syengo secretary for youth affairs /(ODM youth league leader), John Ketora secretary for special interests groups, Halima Daro who replaced Edin Wario as he absconded, secretary for environment, Ronald Ng’eny secretaries for parliamentary affairs/whip national assembly, Gladys Wanga secretaries for parliamentary affairs/whip senate, James Orengo secretary for devolved government, Kipkorir Menjo secretary for science and technology, Steve Mbogo who took over from Noah Akala secretary for special programmes and social welfare, Memusi Kanchori who replaced the late Grace Mboja, secretary for labour and human resource development, Mike Rubia secretary for national security, Justus Kizito who replaced John Waluke who defected to Jubilee, secretary for humanitarian and disaster management affairs, Bob Njagi who succeeded Amos Olempaka, secretary for disability affairs, Nixon Kakiri who replaced Isaac Mwaura, secretary for political affairs, Opiyo Wandayi, director of campaigns, Junet and executive director (ex-officio) – Oduor Ong’wen.

Raila is party leader, Joho and Oparanya deputy party leaders, Mbadi as chairman, Jeremiah Lomorukai as vice-chair, and Bosire as treasurer, Junet is director of campaigns and Judy Pareno is chair national elections board.

Joho

According to insiders, Raila wants the party top leadership, which is dominated by individuals from South Nyanza, spread out to reflect the country’s ethnic diversity.

He is concerned that the party leadership does not reflect the face of Kenya as it ought to be in order to reflect a national image.

This is because he is himself (Luo), Mbadi (Suba), Junet (Somali), but elected in South Nyanza constituency, Lomorukai (Turkana), Mutua (Busia woman representative. She is a Kamba married to a Luhya), Zani (Coast), Joho (Coast), Oparanya (Luhya), Aden (Somali), Sifuna (Luhya), Bosire (Kisii), Pareno (Maasai) and Ongw’en (Luo).

Sifuna

In the ODM top leadership, there is no figure from Mount Kenya region.

Other communities that have traditionally backed the ODM leader are also left out in the top leadership, which is dominated by Luos.

According to sources, Raila wants the ODM national seats distributed to the major communities where he will represent the Luo, Oparanya to go for secretary general to represent the Luhya, Bosire to retain the treasurer’s post to represent the Kisii and Joho to represent Coast.

The other seats will be distributed to the Kikuyu, Kalenjin and Kamba communities.

ODM shelved plans for elections to fill party positions citing the ongoing campaigns to popularise the Building Bridges Initiative.

Raila said they had revised the dates from the initial plan to hold the elections in March.

Among activities taking a back seat is the planned nationwide membership recruitment that was slated for December 31 last year.

Parties are required to submit a list of officials alongside their annual reports to the Registrar of Political Parties by end of April.

However, with the uncertainties around the ODM and Jubilee Party elections, this has been frozen.

Zani

Save for ODM, which may simply present lists of interim officials, Jubilee is bound by its constitution to hold its polls by March.

Raila cited recommendations of a taskforce led by Catherine Mumma, as part of the reason for the internal reforms push.

The taskforce which was set up to look at the party elections and why ODM did not do well in 2017, recommended an overhaul of the party’s structure.

To be affected were the national elections board, national executive committee and the secretariat.

The team noted that nominations were one of the causes of ODM’s poor performance in subsequent elections which followed its star performance in 2007.

 

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Details of Kibicho, Waiguru bitter war – Weekly Citizen

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It’s gloves off for two of Uhuru Kenyatta’s most trusted allies – Internal principal secretary Karanja Kibicho and Kirinyaga governor Anne Waiguru – as they wrestle for political supremacy in the region ahead of the 2022 general election.

Kibicho, by virtue of being the Interior PS is close to the president and communicates with him on daily basis while Waiguru has been close to the head of state since his tenure as deputy prime minister and minister for Finance in the grand coalition government headed by Mwai Kibaki as president and Raila Odinga as prime minister.

Waiguru was then head of governance and the Economic Stimulus Programme at the National Treasury, where Uhuru was her boss.

But Kibicho was the first to be appointed to a senior government position when Kibaki picked him in 2010 to be the permanent secretary in the ministry of Industrialisation.

Kibicho

Prior to his appointment as PS, Kibicho, a mechanical engineer was the head of the department of Mechanical Engineering at the Jomo Kenyatta University College of Agriculture and Technology and had been involved in array of engineering projects with some commissioned by the government.

One of the projects he had done was the evaluation of the pumping capacity of the Mombasa-Nairobi oil pipeline of the Kenya Pipeline Company Limited.

And when Uhuru was elected in 2013, Kibicho was among the three PSs who had served in the Kibaki regime the new president retained.

Those retained were Mutea Iringo as principal secretary, ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, Kibicho as Foreign Affairs PS and Micheni Ntiba (Fisheries).

In Uhuru’s first term, Kibicho took a back seat while in contrast, Waiguru, who was then the Devolution cabinet secretary, pulled the strings and indeed fellow CSs used to refer to her behind her back as the defacto prime minister.

But the fall of Waiguru as Devolution CS due to her links with the National Youth Service Sh790 million scandal was a golden opportunity for Kibicho to rise to become the most influential figure in Kirinyaga politics.

Today, Kibicho is easily the most powerful state official in Kenya after the president and Kibicho’s boss, cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i.

Every so often, you hear members of deputy president William Ruto’s Tangatanga political team crying foul.

They talk about state officials whom, they say, are “abusing power, disobeying court orders and frustrating the deputy president”.

On a number of occasions, they have come out openly, to mention Kibicho and Matiang’i.

At one point, last year, they even alleged there was a plot to physically eliminate the deputy president.

But now a new war has exploded pitting Kibicho against Waiguru, two of the president most trusted allies.

It was the PS who ignited the feud when he had unkind words for the Kirinyaga governor after the county chief allegedly declined to transfer a 100-acre parcel of land in Mwea to Kenya Medical Research Institute so that the agency can construct a Sh15 billion health and research facility.

In October last year, Kirinyaga county deputy governor Peter Ndambiri said the reason Waiguru was yet to okay the transfer of land to Kemri was because the institute bluntly refused to enter into an agreement with the governor.

“Kemri is not willing to enter into an agreement with Governor Waiguru’s administration. That is why the title deed of the Wamumu land in Mwea hasn’t been handed over to it,” Ndambiri said while addressing Kirinyaga residents at Riandira Primary School during the 2019 Mashujaa Day celebrations.

Ngirici

“We want to know how our residents will benefit from the project. Kemri must sign an agreement with us if it wants to be given the land document,” he added.

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The deputy governor told Kemri that the document will only be released once the agreement was signed.

Ndambiri’s statement came on the back of a suit in court that stopped Kemri from undertaking any development on the 100-acre parcel of land in Mwea.

Kemri said it wanted to build a level five hospital, university, a medical supplies factory and a medical research centre at Wamumu area in Mwea, all valued at Sh15 billion

In late October 2019, Kemri through its lawyer Wilfred Lusi had gone to court seeking to have a September 2019 order stopping it from engaging in construction work on the land lifted.

Lusi told a Kerugoya court that a contractor was already on the ground, but was stopped from going on with the construction of the proposed ultra-modern teaching and referral hospital on the land after a suit was filed at the Environment and Land Court.

Waiguru

The civil suit was filed by one Leonard Kuria, who named Kemri as the first respondent and the Kirinyaga county government as the second respondent.

Kuria through his lawyer, DN Gitonga claimed Kemri did not involve area residents (public participation) as required by the constitution before commencing on the mega project.

Kuria in September 2019 had managed to get orders stopping the Kemri project from going on.

The orders were issued by the Environment and Land Court judge Enock Cherono who ruled that construction could only resume after the matter was heard and determined.

Kibicho has accused Waiguru of sabotaging the project, which, according to him, would immensely benefit the people of Kirinyaga county.

“The governor’s decision to sabotage the project is sheer stupidity that should not be allowed to continue,” Kibicho said while monitoring the progress of development projects in Mwea constituency.

“I am shocked that your governor is opposed to the Kemri project, which will go a long way in boosting the economy of Kirinyaga county. It is stupid and foolish of one to oppose such a viable project that, upon completion, will be very important to the people of the county that she leads,” said Kibicho.

The PS said Kirinyaga county constituents stand to lose big time should the project be channeled to another county.

Kirinyaga county deputy governor was present when Kibicho lashed out at his boss.

The PS even told Ndambiri to “implore upon the person who filed a case in court seeking to stop the Kemri project to withdraw the suit immediately”.

“If that doesn’t happen, then I would advise Kirinyaga county residents to protest, demanding withdrawal of the said case,” said Kibicho.

But Ndambiri, four CECs of Kirinyaga county and the county secretary had earlier been locked out of a meeting chaired by Kibicho as the PS met other government officials in a social hall in Mwea.

When the deputy governor attempted to gain access to the venue of the meeting, he was told to wait outside the hall as the two-hour meeting went on inside the hall.

After the meeting ended, Kibicho is said to have refused to brief Ndambiri and his team on what they had deliberated on.

But Ndambiri told journalists that Kibicho and his team were operating arrogantly in Kirinyaga without involving the county leadership.

“The national and county governments should work harmoniously with each other, and not engage in power struggles that end up hurting the mwananchi,” said Ndambiri.

Speaking after attending a church service at KAG Kanjai in Ndia constituency, Ndambiri said they are negotiating with Kuria who moved to court to stop the construction of the Sh15 billion project to drop the case but warned that Kibicho’s interference may derail the project.

According to Waiguru, Kibicho harbours motives in his spirited push to have Kemri pitch camp in Mwea without observing an MoU with the county government.

“On Kemri, Uhuru Kenyatta required an MoU to be signed so that the interests of Kirinyaga people, who I was elected to represent, are taken into account. Is PS Kibicho now superior to the president? What is his personal interest in the matter?” ranted the governor on Facebook.

“If PS Karanja Kibicho wants to engage in village politics and insults, he can resign and join others in early campaigns. In the meantime, he can concentrate on the difficult task of ensuring internal security, including in the turbulent parts of the country,” added Waiguru.

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Kabete Polytechnic turning into notorious crime scene – Weekly Citizen

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Recent events at the Kabete Technical Institute that saw detectives storm the institution drugs and a move by rowdy students to eject worshippers from church have raised security questions.

Some weeks back, DCI detectives made a dramatic arrest of a police imposter who had courageously walked into the institution and arrested a student on allegations that he was peddling narcotic drugs.

DCI George Kinoti

According to the DCI, Daniel Ochieng visited the institution and introduced himself as a police officer posted from Central police division and was on a mission to conduct investigations on crimes within the institution.

The DCI on his social media platform further stated that the 23-year-old police imposter later arrested the said drug peddler and intimidated him with severe police action prompting the victim to negotiate his freedom with a cool Sh30,000.

However the student later reported the extortionist to the police who made arrest and upon subjecting him to body search recovered one roll of bhang, a toy pistol and the cash, according to DCI.

But the drama has left tongues wagging and questions being raised on how and why the said imposter singled out the victim who instantly bribed him with a whooping Sh30, 000 despite being a student.

There is feeling that the officer who turned out to be fake had solid information on his target regarding drug business at the institution, now becoming increasingly synonymous with criminal activities.

Prior to the drugs puzzle, a longstanding cold blood between the college and neighbouring St Joseph Anglican Church degenerated into tragic scenes when rowdy students stormed the church during service to the chagrin of worshippers who were forced to scamper for safety.

The students burned the gate and roughed up worshipers, ending the church service prematurely while there was even more drama when they engaged the police who had moved in to contain the situation, into a running battle for the better part of the day.

The confrontation was sparked by a longstanding land tussle pitting the church against Kabete Technical Institute with both institutions claiming ownership.

It appeared the disgruntled students planned their protests, opting to storm the church on a Sunday when the service was underway to pass their message as opposed to any other day of the week.

According to Rev Wachira Maina, the land in question belongs to the church which had met National Land Commission officials and presented their papers.

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However, students from the institution who spoke to the press maintained despite the land being owned by the learning institution, the church has occupied the land for years.

“We have decided to take matters into our hand because the government has failed to intervene in this matter,” said one of the participants in the confrontation.

Property of unknown value was destroyed during the confrontation and efforts to reach principal Charles Akach for comments were fruitless after he failed to respond to our several phone calls and text messages.

Some Kenyans have appealed to the security agents to keenly monitor current happenings at the institution now rapidly turning out to be a crime scene.

Akach

Notably the principal was at one time arrested and locked up at Kisumu Central Police Station in November 2005 after he found himself in a constitutional referendum fracas between the Orange and Banana teams that left death and destruction in Kisumu.

During that time he was the deputy principal at Kisumu Polytechnic and when the gate of the institution was brought down by a GSU Landrover acting as a battering ram, he also found himself in trouble when the students were beaten black and blue before he was arrested alongside the students.

Akach joined Kabete National Polytechnic in Septemeber 2016, the same year the institution was elevated from a technical training institute to a fully-fledged national polytechnic.

However his stay at the institution as principal has seen student enrollment rise from 1,650 to over 6,000.

Prior to being posted to Kabete, Akach who is an accountant and academician was the principal of Siaya Institute of Technology.

The trouble principal has found himself at the centre of a contested land whose allocation was authorised by the late president Daniel Moi who was a staunch member of the Anglican Church of Kenya.

Others claim that documentations from the National Land Commission indicate that five acres in Kabete were allocated to ACK St Joseph on instructions of the then president Moi.

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Wambora ignores drunkard MCAs – Weekly Citizen

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Embu governor Martin Wambora rejected the contentious alcoholic drinks control Bill that would have allowed consumption of liquor from as early as 3pm daily.

The bill had been supported by majority of assembly MCAs known to enjoy hot drinks before going to the assembly debates, to gain courage.

Wambora refused to assent to the proposed law and sent it back to the county assembly with a memorandum citing the clauses that he wants amended. Wambora’s decision means, MCAs who had voted and passed the Bill will study again the controversial law that caused public uproar with many demanding for its review.

Wambora

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Assembly speaker Josiah Thiriku found himself in trouble with residents over the bill. The Bill is unpopular due to its bid to have official hours for opening bars revised from 5pm to 11pm during official working days and 2pm on weekends and public holidays.

Another issue is abolition of the 24-hour alcohol sale licence for restaurants and hotels. Initially, the law permitted drinking of alcohol at any hour of day or night as long as the drinker had also ordered food at the venue before indulging in liquor consumption.

For now, the ball is in the hands of county assembly trade, tourism, investment and industrialisation committee chaired by Morris Muchiri, MCA for Kirimari ward to streamline the bill.

Majority of MCAs many of them well known drunkards supported early drinking hours despite public outcry.

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