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Monday, 6 June 2011

The Anchor May-June 2011 The VP's Mess...


VP’s Mess
Kalonzo seals fate of 
democracy in chamber row


TODAY, Machakos County has a set of officials occupying office unelected, thanks to the intervention of Vice President His Excellency, the Hon. Dr. Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka. To many, this may well be signs of things to come if he is ever elected as President of Kenya. Never mind the democratic credentials the VP claims to have acquired after years as Kanu’s Organizing Secretary.
Vice President gives his henchmen a dressing down over
 the Machakos Chamber fiasco .

Tongues had been wagging in Machakos that the local Chamber of Commerce and Industry had had its officials endorsed by the VP even when he knows that no elections had been held. Residents are perplexed over this man who claims to be a democrat and is eying the Presidency of newly reborn democratic republic of Kenya, conniving to have unelected officials stay in office and drive business in a county where his own credibility has remained at stake since he became the Vice President by default. This comes after the VP gave a public dressing down to the team
of imposters where he tried to distance himself from the controversial election at the trouble ridden Machakos branch of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Speaking at Scott Theological Collage, Kalonzo said it was wrong for his name to be dragged in alleged branch election in which people allied to him were purportedly elected and said elections ought to be held democratically. He did not entertain any comments from his right hand man Mr. Ndii Kivuva as he appeared upset “Stop dragging me in small local issues like a branch election”, said Kalonzo after officiating at the 46th annual graduation at the Scott Theological College in Machakos. Yet small as they may be, the VP is deeply immersed in the petty election squabble. The matter is so intriguing such it is not a matter of the integrity of those involved is being scrutinized. It is merely the process. So why would the VP not want a team associated with him not face an election in Machakos town if indeed he is a serious contender for the presidency in 2012? Observers see it as the fear of Raila Odinga. The main contender for the seat is viewed as a supporter of Raila Odinga, even when Raila may not remember his face and the assertion may not be true. But it appears that he may have a headstart if a free and fair election is held for the chamber. Simon Kitheka, an ex school principal and also a contender for the Machakos Town Seat runs several shops in the municipality and hardly plays in the Raila league- save for a visit he made recently with other local politicians to Bondo. That visit alone has send the VP coiling in fear of the reality that Raila has been reaching out to local politicians, so much so that he would rather tolerate unelected officials in office, no matter how much their unelected credentials soil his name! He wondered why his name featured in the controversial election yet he was in India on official duties at the time. “I was even not around when all this was happening. Please tell them so”, the VP told reporters. Kalonzo gave the alleged new officials of the branch a dressing for sucking him in the chamber matters. His ranting notwithstanding, informed sources say the VP met the team in his Jogoo Mouse office and it was agreed that no elections would be held, meaning that his utterances at Scott Collage were merely his traditional double speam aimed as perfecting his Public Relations. Confusion reigned in the Machakos branch with a rival group led by a former Machakos mayor Reuben Muange insisted they were in office despite the nullification of the purported April 21,2011 election by the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) The chamber’s national chairman Mr.Stephen B Mbugua has directed that fresh branch election be held and send the Officer in charge of the chamber’s membership development Mr.Charles Obulo whether all those who have been recruited as members of the chamber were genuine business people . “We want to bring the warring parties together in order to ensure there is stability in the affairs of the Machakos Chamber”,Mbugua told The Standard on Sunday. He said he annulled the alleged election after a rival group led by Simon Kitheka complained that due process was not followed. MR.obulo has spend the last two days scrutinizing the relevant documents as directed by the national office before he seperately met officials of the two factions to announce the nullification of the Machakos branch election purported to have been held on April 21,2011. The chamber’s National Chairman Mr.Stephen B Mbugua then directed that fresh election be held either on Thursday or Friday in the week. The chairman said his office would send an officer to Machakos to scrutinize the members register ahead of the scheduled election. “We want to bring the warring parties together in order to ensure there is stability in the affairs of the Machakos Chamber”,said Mbugua. In a letter addressed to the Machakos DC Mr.Mbugua has authorized the fresh elections to ensure an all inclusive process. “In order to ensure an all inclusive process, I have authorized that fresh elections be held as soon as possible”, said the chairman in his letter dated April 29, 2011. Mr. Mbugua’s three paragraph letter is copied to the Machakos Trade Officer, the chairman of the group that conducted the annulled election Mr. Reuben Muange, OCPD Machakos and Simon Kitheka who leads a rival group. His letter nullifies another one addressed to the DC on April 27, 2011 by the chamber’s Chief Executive Officer Njonjo Itotia introducing Mr. Muange and his team of new officials. Even then this mayhem exposed the DC to ridicule after he wrote a letter introducing the new ‘officials’ to Departmental Heads in Machakos, instructing them to give maximum coopration to the alleged chamber bosses. First, there had been no notice of election and the DC knew very well that no election had been held. “ To purport that an election had been done is the height of irresponsibility on the part of the DC, enforcing the desire Kenyans expressed in the constitution to have the Provincial Administration scrapped altogether”, said a local activist who pleaded not to be identified as he is personally known to the DC. Worse still observers see the DC letter a totally misadvised administrative adventure as he was clearly entering a highly partisan matter over a community he ought to serve impartially, such that one party now see his office as an extension of their rivals and therefore unworthy of seeking indulgence with. The chairman, much as he stated his determination to reconcile the two parties still emerged as a shaky character whose office was torn between political and monetary forces, with the earliest force to arrive in his office running away with a favourable decision. How else does one explain the on again, off again drama on elections in Machakos? The Chamber seems torn into party politics as it is being openly said in Machakos that an ODM leaning person can not be allowed to hold the helmsmanship at the chamber. So as the Chairman said traders ought not to be swayed by politics, his was mere posturing as he eventually swayed the political way and imagines that the Machakos Chamber of Commerce and industry will be run by unelected officials. Tension remained high in the town as the two camps traded accusation, bringing to the fore ODM-K and ODM politics.” We cannot allow a Prime Minister Raila Odinga allay to lead the Machakos branch of the Chember of Commerce and industry”, said a trader who refered Mr.Kitheka as a supporter of Raila. But Kitheka’s camp ountered this saying the purported Vice Chairman of the rival group Mr. Francis Ngunga was part of a delegation from Machakos County that went to Raila’s Bondo home with Mr. Kitheka The Anchor established that a plan to sneak unelected officials into office was initially planned. But they plotters went ahead to assemble an ugly alliance on non traders behind the back of the outgoing chamber boss Paul Mbole, even when most of them were his friends. When Mbole demanded that an election must be held and the team reneged, he went public, admitting that no election was held and that he, as outgoing chamber boss had not given a notice for election at the branch. As we went to press, Mbole a hardliner to the hilt was still holed up at the Chairman’s office demanding that an election be held for the branch so that he can hand over to properly elected people who have the credibility to move the chamber to the next level. Woes deepened when a section of Machakos town community invited KACC to investigate alleged corruption claims. The complainants allege the head office is meddling in the affairs of the branch. In their letter to KACC, the rival group claimed their rivals met at a local bar owned by one of the alleged officials and prepared a list of officials they purported were elected on April 21, 2011. “The alleged election did not take place and we believe money changed hands. (At KNCCI) Investigate and take action on the culprits as indicated in the introduction letter from the head office”, read the letter to KACC dated April 28, 2011. The date a senior official at the headquarters Mr. Peter Muiruri purpots to have “presided” over the Machakos branch election is the same day he (Muiruri) issued membership recruitment receipt books in Nairobi. “I personally signed for four receipt books in his office in the afternoon of April 21, 2011. How come he was in Machakos the same time overseeing the alleged election”? It is posed. Mr.Itotia was at pains to explain the circumstances in which his officials conducted the alleged election.” The name of Mr. Muiruri has prominently featured in the complaints I have received and I think he is the right person to answer your questions”, he told this reporter on telephone.

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