24 January 2013

Kenya: Wambui Supporters Run Riot for Second Day

DEMONSTRATIONS continued in Othaya for the second day running yesterday with protesters blocking the Othaya-Nyeri highway.

The demonstrators, who are supporters of Othaya parliamentary aspirant Mary Wambui, were protesting over TNA's move to deny her the nomination certificate. Her supporters lit bonfires at Kagere trading centre before police intervened and put off the fires.

More than 300 police officers were deployed at strategic areas in Othaya, in case the protesters turned rowdy and chaotic. Armed police officers, who included the APs and regular police, patrolled the town on foot and on police trucks.

The officers were drawn from Nyeri and Murang'a counties. The police under the command of police boss Adiel Nyange had a rough time controlling the charged crowd, as traders hurriedly closed their businesses fearing looting.

The protesters threatened to vote for the GNU candidate, Peter King'ara, in the March 4, elections if Wambui is not handed the ticket. "Where is democracy? We voted for Wambui and we want nothing short of that. It is either her or we don't vote for TNA," said Benjamin Kahihia, a TNA aspirant for Mahiga ward.

Wambui polled 13,050 votes against Gichuki's 10,080 in the polls concluded on Saturday morning at 7am. But on Tuesday, the final list of TNA presented to the IEBC had the name of Wambui's rival Mugambi Gichuki, instead.

Wambui has threatened to go to court to sue TNA for denying her victory. "How can they deny me victory, I was given the certificate by TNA which means I won," said Wambui. "I will take action."

Sources at TNA said Wambui's name was removed from the final list following a successful petition by Mugambi. Meanwhile, aspirant Nderitu Wamiitii, who is said to have sold votes to Wambui, dismissed the allegations as "malicious and baseless".

Wamiitii threatened to sue Gichuki Mugambi if he does not produce evidence to support his allegations. Mugambi had alleged that Wambui and Wamiiti had signed an agreement that said Wamiiti would support Wambui.

Wamiiti said Mugambi had defamed him. "I did not enter into any deal with Wambui," said Wamiiti. "This is malice and I will go to court to seek damages."

Wamiiti supported the candidature of Wambui and said Wambui should be given the nomination ticket and allowed to run because "she is generous and kind."

Last week Wambui said, "the people do not want anyone to interfere with the nominations. Since I was in Kanu, I have worked with the people of Othaya and I am confident they will elect me because they do not need to be told who is good for them. They know whom they want as their MP."

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