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Aspirants risk being locked out of Jubilee primaries over integrity

April 20, 2017 3:37 PM
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Aspirants risk being locked out of Jubilee primaries over integrity

At least eight aspirants seeking nominations on the Jubilee Party ticket risk disqualification from the race should investigations into their past show they have questionable integrity.

The move by the party follows petitions from members of the public targeting six contestants, while a seventh is facing a court case.

However, Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju has assured all aspirants of a fair process but warned that those found culpable will be locked out even if they win the nominations which start Friday.

“We are investigating, and if we find you fail to meet any of these qualifications, even after the nominations, we will disqualify you,” Tuju said, in reference to the aspirants.

Over the past two weeks, voters have petitioned the party to check the past conduct of Embakasi Central MP John Ndirangu, Nyeri governorship aspirant Thuo Mathenge, Belgut aspirant Nelson Koech, Kapsaret MP Oscar Sudi and Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko.

The petitioners have cited different cases of misconduct ranging from suspected false academic papers, corruption and criminal leanings.

Mr Zedekiah Buzeki, who is eying the Uasin Gishu governorship, was also sued by a voters over his academic papers.

The Party has also been petitioned to check Uasin Gishu Woman Aspirant Peris Simam, who was in 2016 convicted of corruption and jailed for a month before paying a fine.

Early this week, some criminal gang members in a crime documentary aired on NTV claimed the Embakasi MP was one of the politicians covertly funding their activities.

However, he denied the claims a day later, accusing his opponents of fanning propaganda against him.

But two voters from the constituency wrote to the Jubilee Party and government vetting agencies claiming the MP is unfit to be a leader because he was convicted of corruption.

The claims arose from 2004 a case in which a magistrate found him guilty of two counts of abuse of office.

In 2013, when he won the seat, Justice George Kimondo of the High Court dismissed a petition because it had been filed by a non-voter although he agreed in his judgment that the MP “on the face of it, fails the qualification or integrity test under article 99 (2) (h).

“He was convicted of abuse of office charges on 14th January 2004. He did not appeal the decision,” the judge argued.

All the other aspirants have equally defended their records, accusing their opponents of having a hand in the accusations.

On Thursday, the Party’s top official and the National Elections Board chairman Andrew Musangi, however, refused to say whether any of those claims were true, only promising fairness in the process.

“We do not deal in rumours. Unless we get a formal complaint written to us complaining about a person, we have no reason to commence an investigations,” said Mr Musangi.

And speaking on aspirants’ papers, Mr Tuju said: “When they bring them to us, and we do not have a genuine reason not to trust them, we will believe them. As long as the university is recognised, and it is not a forgery, we cannot go confirming every person’s papers.”

The Party disqualified Mr Thuo Mathenge, saying it would contravene “a Court of Appeal ruling that has not been varied.”

“He claims to have acquired a bachelor’s degree in January 2013 and two months later had a PhD. How did he get there?” asked Mr Tuju.

Mr Tuju showed reporters certificates belonging to Mathenge from Fairland University that he said were now impossible to verify after the closure of the school.

“In the two degrees, the dean, head of academics and the vice-chancellor all changed within the two months he claimed to have acquired the two degrees. The signatures are different and all these people changed within two months,” Mr Tuju said.

The party also questioned how Mr Mathenge had travel documents showing he left the country for Uganda only for the award of the degree and not any other time, including when he was supposedly learning at the institution.

Mr Musangi said: “We even went down to ask him to produce documents of him having paid fees. Even that, he could not.”


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