24 January 2013

Kenya: IEBC to Rule On Wambui

PRESIDENT Kibaki's son Jimmy Kibaki yesterday denied allegations that he was behind Mary Wambui's troubles in Othaya.

"My culture and upbringing do not allow me to address an elderly lady through the media. As to the allegation, the people of Othaya know that it is not and has never been my style to intimidate anyone. That is not who I am," he said.

"It suffices to say that I do not sit on the TNA Appeals Board neither am I employed by the Ministry of Internal Security and Provincial Administration," Kibaki's eldest son told the Sta.

Wambui has accused Jimmy and other unnamed people of frustrating her quest to succeed President Kibaki as the MP for Othaya constituency.

Accompanied by former MPs Rachel Shebesh and Cecily Mbarire, Wambui stormed the IEBC offices on Tuesday night to demand that she be included on the TNA list of nominees. She claimed that she had been on the TNA list at 4pm on Monday but had been omitted by the time the list was handed into the IEBC offices later that night.

The IEBC yesterday issued a stern warning to Wambui and her colleagues that they risked disqualification for their actions. Chairman Issack Hassan said the commission will decide today whether to warn, fine or disqualify them.

Neither the TNA nor the IEBC has yet released official lists of nominees. However Gichuki Mugambi, Wambui's rival in Othaya, claimed that he had been given a TNA nomination certificate for Othaya and was on the TNA list.

Mugambi is the chairman of the Othaya Development Association that coordinates development activities in the area. According to the TNA returning officer, Mugambi got 10,080 votes in last week's nomination against Wambui's 13,050.

However Mugambi is claiming that some of his supporters were turned away, some votes were not counted, and the returning officer vanished for hours before returning to announce the result.

On Tuesday afternoon Mugambi appealed to the TNA appeals board that his name had been unfairly removed from the TNA list. Yesterday TNA chairman Johnson Sakaja issuing a statement that Mugambi's appeal had been dismissed. However he did not state categorically that Wambui is now the TNA candidate for Othaya.

In the ongoing saga of claim and counter-claim, Wambui has also filed an appeal before IEBC and the commission will make its final decision today. Mugambi's supporters have now threatened to vote for the GNU candidate in Othaya, Peter King'ara, if Wambui is given the TNA ticket.

Late last year there were unconfirmed reports of conflict between Wambui who was supporting Musalia Mudavadi for president while Jimi Kibaki was supporting Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta.

The wealthy businesswoman had regularly been in the news over the past decade. In 2004 media reports emerged indicating that President Kibaki had a second spouse allegedly married under customary law, Mary Wambui, and a daughter, Wangui Mwai.

State House then released a statement that Kibaki's only immediate family was his wife, Lucy and their four children. When the reports resurfaced in 2009, Kibaki, accompanied by Lucy, held a press conference to repeat that his only spouse was Lucy.

Wambui, commonly known as Mama Winnie after her daughter Winnie Wangui, reportedly has five children. She has been involved in Nyeri politics since the 1980s but has not previously run for office. Wambui has built a name for herself due to her generosity in harambees and other development projects.

In December, four Othaya voters - Micheal Nderitu, Silvester Muriithi, Daniel Karinga and Kiambati Kihumba - applied to block Wambui's bid for the Othaya TNA nomination on integrity grounds. The High Court declined to block Wambui's nomination.

The voters argued that the flamboyant businesswoman was adversely mentioned in the Waki report on the 2007/08 post-election violence and the report on the Artur brothers.

Artur Margaryan and Artur Sargasyan led the raid on the Standard Group media on March 2, 2006. The Artur report recommended inter alia that Wambui be investigated.

Wambui was also adversely mentioned in the report of the Joint Sessions of the Departmental Committees on Administration, National Security and Local Authorities and Administration of Justice and Legal Affairs on the Artur brothers that was finally adopted in late 2010.

Paragraph 93 of the report directly linked her to the Armenian brothers during their stay in Kenya in 2006. "The Committee would also like to take evidence from Mary Wambui who had been seen in public using the vehicle in which the two officers attached to the PEU (Presidential Escort Unit) were carjacked. It is the view of the committee that there is a connection between Mary Wambui, the two PEU and the alleged carjacking of the two officers. The committee is convinced that the carjacking incident was stage-managed to give the Artur Brothers (the opportunity) to use the firearms from the PEU," the report stated.

The report referred to an incident in which two policemen attached to the Presidential Escort Unit were carjacked on University Way in Nairobi and had their arms stolen.

"The committee would wish to compare the particulars of the firearms recovered from the Runda residence of the Artur Brothers and the lost firearms stated above by the two officers within Presidential Escort Unit," said the report.

In 2006 Wambui's daughter, Winnie Wangui, publicly announced she would marry one of the Artur brothers. The report also recommended that the late John Michuki, then Internal Security minister, and former State House official Stanley Murage should not hold public office.

Before the 10th Parliament was dissolved, MPs were piling pressure on the Director of Public Prosecution Keriako Tobiko to implement the report and have Wambui probed.

A second report was tabled by the Implementation committee calling on the DPP to implement the recommendations contained in Artur report.

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