Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Saturday, 25 Mar 2017 16:05 EATnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.com
Chaos rocked a meeting called by the Jubilee Party's national office for party members and aspirants from Muranga County to select members of the County Elections Board. Police fired teargas and several shots in the air at Muranga Teachers Training College after rival camps disagreed over the selection of seven members of the Board, each representing one constituency.
The differences at the meeting were along the popular cleavages in Muranga triggered by the cut-throat competition between incumbent governor Mwangi wa Iria and Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau. Mr Iria has solid support among vast groups of voters in the sprawling county, but Mr Kamau is seen as the favourite of Jubilee Party leaders and power-brokers.
Mr Iria’s supporters stormed out of the meeting to protest the constitution of the Jubilee leadership in Muranga County and the legitimacy of the meeting which they said was being held without adequate consultation. The Kamau camp, however, insisted that the meeting had to go on and finalise the selection of the Board members, holding that the party leadership in Muranga was legally in office and the meeting was properly constituted.
As members scampered for safety from scenes of the violent standoff, there was confusion as to whether the Kamau group would proceed to select names in the absence of the Wa Iria camp, but the matter was resolved when Ms Leah Ntimama, the Jubilee national official who was overseeing the exercise, announced that it had been postponed to next Tuesday.
The Iria camp had opposed the meeting saying it had been called without adequate consultation with party aspirants as required. They also wanted the original party officials including the chairman Simon Kamau Gikuru and secretary Samuel Macharia reinstated, claiming the new ones recently appointed by the Jubilee head office were proxies of Mr Kamau.
The two were removed early this month and replaced by Ms Jane Wanjiru Muiga as the new branch chairman and Mr Joel Irungu as the secretary, changes that were quickly approved by the national officials. However, the Iria camp has opposed the development in court and this afternoon MCAs and aspirants allied to the governor cited court orders returning Mr Gikuru and Mr Macharia to office.
Sensing that the situation could turn tragic should she insist on holding the meeting, Ms Ntimama called off the meeting and annouced that repeat elections will be conducted on Tuesday.