August 18th 2017

Top Stories / National

Kitui commissioner conducting Jubilee rallies warns journalists against reporting him

Contacted for comment, Kitui County Commissioner Boaz Cherutich confirmed getting complaints against the DCC and said it was wrong for any government officer to engage in partisan politics.

By Phillip MuleeFriday, 12 May 2017 21:40 EAT

Kitui Rural MP Charles Mutisya Nyamai.

A Deputy County Commissioner in Kitui County is on the spot for using his office to organize political meetings and openly campaign for certain parliamentary candidates. Mr David Ole Saruni, the DCC for Lower Yatta district on Wednesday summoned more than 500 village elders and urged them to campaign for Jubilee parliamentary candidate for Kitui Rural constituency James Munyao Kiilu, contrary to provisions of the Elections Offenses Act.

During the day-long meeting outside his office at Kyusyani also attended by the aspirant, the administrator told the elders they should actively participate in campaign efforts to vote out area MP Charles Nyamai, because he had “failed to develop the area”. The elders were each given a half loaf of bread and soda during lunch time and Sh300 bus fare after the meeting, but Kenya Free Press could not establish who between the candidate and Mr Saruni footed the bills.

“I know I’ll be accused of engaging in politics but you should not allow the current MP to retain his seat because he hasn’t performed well”, Mr Ole Saruni said, adding he was unhappy with the way Mr Nyamai was running the Constituency Development Fund. He warned journalists who were covering the meeting to report only the development issues discussed and not politics.

Village elders are part of the provincial administration under the Office of the President, responsible for the lowest unit and are answerable to Assistant chiefs. Chiefs and their assistants also attended the meeting. The actions by the DCC which are outright violation of Election laws are bound to trigger protests and accusations of interference from other parliamentary candidates during the campaign period.

Section 12 of the Election Offenses Act which came into force in October 2016 provides that using public office to campaign for a particular candidate is punishable to prison term of six years or Sh10 million. “A candidate or any other person who uses a public officer, or the national security organs to induce or compel any person to support a particular candidate or political party commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding ten million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six years or to both,” it reads.

The Jubilee candidate told the elders that he will ensure they’re paid a monthly salary of Sh3,000 once elected and tarmac roads in the constituency among a raft of other campaign promises.

Mr Kiilu also claimed he was the one who pushed the government to initiate the Sh62 billion Thwake Multipurpose Dam and also that he will ensure it is completed. The dam is a Vision 2030 project mooted in 2008 and is funded jointly by the government and African Development Bank.

Contacted for comment, Kitui County Commissioner Boaz Cherutich confirmed getting complaints against the DCC and said it was wrong for any government officer to engage in partisan politics.

Mr Nyamai, the Kitui Rural MP said it was wrong for the officer to openly violate the law by presiding over partisan political activities adding that he raise the matter in parliament.

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