Threat of split as Narc-Kenya wrangles take on a new twist

A Narc-Kenya renegade group styling itself as the Narc-Kenya Aspirants Forum is threatening to defect to another party if the party does not accede to a list of demands. Peter Mbae, one of the renegade group's leaders, said that the faction was pursuing dialogue with the party headquarters but the group had other options if the head office did not heed their demands.

The threats came only a day after party heavyweights led by interim chairman Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi stormed a meeting organized by the renegade faction in a bid to stem the growing rebellion in the party. The threats also come in the wake of claims that the faction was being bankrolled by a cabinet minister who went to parliament on a Kanu ticket and joined the cabinet when Kibaki formed his Government of National Unity.

According to Mbae, who is eyeing the Rongai seat held by Alicen Chelaite, Assistant Minister for Gender and Sports, the faction will begin countrywide rallies to popularize their demands. If the head office does not bow to public pressure, according to Mbae, the faction will disrupt the party's grassroot elections scheduled to begin on February 21. If that option still does not work, the group will walk out of the party altogether.

Among a raft of demands that the faction wants granted by the party head office are nine slots in the party's National Elections Board. Last week, the party appointed nine members to the National Elections Board. If the faction's demands are granted, the party's elections board will be expanded to 18 members.

The faction also wants that six of its members from every constituency be mandatory members of the Party's national Delegates Convention which will be constituted during the party's grassroots elections.

The row, which spilled to the public domain on Wednesday, has been brewing since July last year. The rebellion began when a group of young aspirants eyeing the party's ticket in the coming elections began caucusing at the Boulevard Hotel in Nairobi. The group, which then was meeting under the auspices of Pace International, was dissatisfied with the party's indecisiveness in distancing itself with members of the government who were tainted with corruption. The leaders of this group were Mbae, Antony Kirori, who is eyeing the Lang'ata seat currently held by Raila Odinga, the de-facto leader of ODM-Kenya, and Duncan Mathenge, who is eyeing the Nyeri Town seat.

The second renegade group whose public faces are Prof. Karanja Njoroge and Kimani Ngunjiri emerged last year. Endowed with financial resources from an invisible financier, this group set up a secretariat at Visions Plaza along Mombasa road. Its loose organizational structure had Ngunjiri as its Chairman and Prof. Njoroge was the secretary general. This group is said to enjoy the support of Kanu members from central Province and the Rift Valley.

Ngunjiri, who had been a close associate of Uhuru Kenyatta, is said to be wooing Jonathan Toroitich, son of former President Moi who is eyeing the Eldama Ravine seat held by Musa Sirma into Narc-Kenya. Jonathan sent someone to represent him in the Wednesday meeting.

Up to the early aprt of last year, Ngunjiri, who is himself eyeing the Subukia seat held by Koigi Wamwere the Assistant Minister for Informationm was still the Nakuru Branch Kanu chairman.

On the other hand, Prof. Njoroge has also had a chequered history in kanu. In 2002, he contested the Molo seat on a Kanu ticket and lost to Macharia Mukiri. In 1997, he was a member of the Central Province Development Group, an ambitious project that attempted to market Kanu and Moi in Central province.

Towards the end of last year, the third group emerged and pitched tent at the Ngong Hills Hotel, owned by Matu Wamae, a former MP for Mathira, Nyeri. This Wamae group brought together former DP members who were feeling sidelined by the new players in the new party. This group began meeting inDecember and was chaired by David Ngunyi, who is eyeing the Kinangop seat held by Waithaka Mwangi. Apart from Matu Wame who also chairs the board of New KCC, other leaders in the Ngong Hills group were city lawyer C.N Kihara who has lost three bids for the Mathioya seat currently held by LDP secretary general, JJ Kamotho.

Like Wamae who decamped from Narc to Safina after losing the Narc Nomination, Kihara jumped ship into Ford People. They both lost the elections. Others are Peter Kuguru who ahs vied for the Mathira seat on a Kanu ticket in both 1997 and 2002.

At the beginning of January, the leaders of the three groups met at the Vision Plaza office and agreed to merge into one. The merger gave birth to the new bigger group which organized the Grand Regency meeting on Wednesday. The meeting was attended by close to 200 aspirants.

It is this bigger group that was responsible for the paid-up advertisement in sections of the media asking party aspirants to attend a meeting at the Grand Regency.

Immediately after the faction's advert was published, the Narc-Kenya head office in Kilimani area off Lenana Road later published its own advertisement canceling the earlier one. A source at the Kilimani office narrated the altercation that followed the publication of the advertisement by the Vision Plaza Group.

Angered by the use of the party symbols, the parties called key figures in the Vision Plaza, demanding to know why the group was using party symbols without consulting the party headquarters.

A week ago, Sande Onyoro, the Assistant Executive Director, while downplaying the rift in the party said that the secretariat was concerned that the Vision Plaza group was using the party's symbol without knowledge of the official secretariat.

"At the Narc Secretariat," he said "we are agreed that everyone has a right to meet anywhere. But if they want to use our party's symbols they have an obligation to involve the secretariat because they will be committing the party. These are not just issues of procedure but also issues of transparency and accountability."

He added: "As things are right now we cannot guarantee the money that people are paying to the Vision Plaza Group." Sande was speaking in reference to Shs 2,000 that party aspirants were paying to attend the meeting held on Wednesday at the Grand Regency.

On Wednesday, the renegades appointed a steering committee of 28 people to run the faction's affairs. The members of the committee are three representatives each from Nairobi, Central, Eastern, Nyanza, North Eastern and Coast Provinces. Because of its size, Rift Valley is represented by six representatives.

Ngunjiri, prof. Njoroge, Mbae and Ambassador Orie Rogo Manduli are among those that were appointed to lead the faction.



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One Response to Threat of split as Narc-Kenya wrangles take on a new twist

Jimmy chelaite said...

Peter mbae is avery arrogant person who has been financing the activities of mungiki here in nairobi and cant win the rongai seat coz there is no developement project initiated by hi-just chest thumping,

He is wasting time and resouses.

Jimmy chelaite