Probe team on botched ODM polls to summon Agnes Zani, Otieno Kajwang

Kenya: A five-member team investigating the botched ODM National Delegates Convention ( NDC) fiasco intends to summon key party figures adversely mentioned in the probe to determine who was responsible for bungling the elections.

The committee, led by Jotham Nyakuri, held sittings on Thursday and Friday as it kicked off the journey to unmasking the faces behind the goons who disrupted the party’s Third NDC. Curiously, the committee commenced investigations on the week party leader Raila Odinga flew to the US for a one month visit. Raila is attending a political programme at Boston University for former African political leaders under strict conditions to temporarily desist from actively engaging in politics in the period of study.

Boston University invited him to the USA to attend the mentorship and empowerment programme, The African President-in-Residence Program, for former democratically elected African heads of state. Now Watch: Nyeri special school affected by changing weather patterns The programme allows former leaders a residency of up to two years. During their tenure, the former heads of state speak about African political and economic development at venues throughout the US.

Status quo While away, Raila handed over the leadership baton to his trusted loyalist, Kisumu Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o. Raila is expected to nonetheless monitor the developments in his ODM party while miles away to ensure that members remain either united or maintain the status quo until he returns to receive the report from the committee investigating the chaos. The report will determine the course the party maneuvers through as it seeks to hold fresh elections to elect substantive office bearers after the abortive NDC that left party members bitterly bruised. Other members of the taskforce are: Harold Kipchumba, Isaiah Mandala, Jotham Arwa and Mtalaki Mwashimba.

The five-member team comprised of neutral experts will dig out facts right from the issuance of notice convening the NDC and delve through the process of grueling campaigns that saw two camps emerge in a tight battle for the leadership of the Orange party. Some aspirants are accusing former officials of arm-twisting the Constitution in a bare-knuckle antics to influence those who would vote at the NDC.

There is evidence that there was an excess of more than 1,500 non-delegates at the NDC instead of the constitutionally allowed 2,830. Bitter contest A member of the committee who spoke on condition of anonymity told The Standard on Saturday that they had agreed on the scope of the investigations, terms of reference and the approach to adopt in establishing the circumstances that led to the bungling of the elections at Kasarani two weeks ago.

“We held a meeting on Thursday and today (Friday) to start our work. We cannot say what we are doing now but we can confirm that work has started and we will expedite it as possible,” the member said on condition of anonymity. See also: Resign? Not me, asserts Kaimenyi Among the prominent party bigwigs targeted in the probe include a host of aspirants from both nominated Senator Agnes Zani and Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba camps.

The two, who were locked in a bitter contest for the secretary general’s position, are currently the party’s joint secretaries in the Transitional Interim Executive Committee (TIEC) formed to spearhead the party through fresh elections. From Zani’s camp, a group of aspirants in the line-up that was said to have been endorsed by top party officials, including Homa Bay Senator Otieno Kajwang’, have been summoned. Others are former Nairobi political protagonists George Aladwa and Reuben Ndolo alongside Zani herself to shed light of what they know of the so-called ‘men in black’ youths who disrupted the elections.

From Namwamba’s camp, a group of aspirants who have pointed an accusing finger at their opponent team of hiring and ferrying goons to disrupt the election after sensing defeat, will also be quizzed to substantiate their claims. Herculean duty.

Also targeted in the probe is nominated MP Isaac Mwaura who sparked off the protest at the election arena . Mwaura told The Standard on Saturday that he had nothing to do with the bungling of the elections and had no idea of any prior planning of the violence

“I rose on a genuine concern that a campaign material was being distributed by a commissioner of the board in a manner that could compromise the election outcome. I had no knowledge of the behind the scenes intrigues because my focus was in winning the elections,” the nominated MP said when contacted. Giant party The taskforce that has been tasked with the herculean duty of leaving no stone unturned in unraveling the truth will also summon some members of the ODM National Elections Board (NEB) among them commissioner Nancy Abisai. Ms Abisai was captured on clips distributing campaign materials of one camp while she was giving out ballot papers at the arena, prompting outcry and protest from aspirants.

See also: Resign? Not me, asserts Kaimenyi “We will not leave any stone unturned. ODM is the third giant political party in Africa and we will establish the truth to enable it rise up again into play as the country’s single largest political entity,” said a member of the taskforce investigating the Kasarani chaos. He said the team will also recommend far-reaching action against those implicated, including demands that they face prosecution by the police to deter future hooliganism.

The party has already lodged official complaint with the police over the matter and investigations are ongoing. Kasarani OCPD Augustine Thumbi confirmed that the party’s Executive Director Magerer Langat recorded a statement immediately after the chaos and that they are pursuing the suspects who bungled the elections by destroying election materials. The youths dismantled empty and transparent containers and overturned tables before throwing the election process that was underway into disarray. “We are investigating this matter. We are going to invite top party officials to come and record statements to help us unravel what may have happened and those who planned it,” Mr Thumbi said.

Otieno Kajwang'

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