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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 24 August 2014

UDF REPS DECLARE WAR ON CHAIRMAN, CALL FOR OUSTER



Trouble is brewing in UDF as MCAs threaten to pass a vote of no confidence in chairman Osman Hassan. Hassan who until formation of UDF was a procurement officer at the defunct PNU secretariat, is being accused of  sabotage of party activities and decisions, commercialising his position and inciting the National Executive Committee members against  party leader Musalia Mudavadi.


In what may turn out to be a militant group out to assert their presence in UDF, MCAs also blame the party leader of pampering, babysitting and accommodating Hassan’s subversion for too long. MCAs are angry that Hassan has blocked their representation at the NEC because he wants only loyalists he can compromise. MCAs have also threatened to withdraw their monthly contributions to the party if Hassan remains chairman. If all MCAs contribute the party would get Sh445,000 monthly.

“We know he is a mole and does not want a strong UDF as long he personally benefits from facilitation from the ruling coalition. UDF is nothing without Mudavadi yet Hassan thinks he owns the party. He seems to have instructions to stop Mudavadi,” an MCA said.

Early this year, 89 MCAs chose their representatives to NEC and the political council during a retreat in Lamu but despite the NEC resolution, Hassan has sat on the decision by not signing the minutes. He is accused of sabotaging party programmes that do not benefit him financially.

“At Maanzoni, I was dismayed that the chairman would lie to us that MCAs NEC member nominees and confirming new branch officials had to wait for a strange vetting committee. He even made it sound like a personal favour from him yet we are the largest group of elected officials,” said Ahuga Mwenesi, Vihiga county assembly majority leader.

“This man is extremely selfish and greedy. He uses the party to gain business favours from government. We now want him to account for nomination fees paid by aspirants last year. We also want him investigated on how he acquired 600 hectares in Lamu,” said a member of the election board. The land ownership in Lamu is a new twist given ongoing investigations about illegal land transactions in the county. It is instructive that when Lamu governor Issa Timamy was arrested, Mudavadi led UDF MPs in defence but Hassan was conspicuously absent.

In another twist, the chairman is being alleged of using his position to get government jobs for relatives and cronies purporting them to be UDF members. It is alleged that he has already presented a list through URP for ongoing appointments without authority from the party. Also under focus is protection of cronies like a brother who is chairman of a pensioners’ body within the ministry of Social Services.

Hassan, a nominated UDF MP benefited from withdrawal of Mudavadi’s name from the list of party nominees in the last election and is being accused of bringing nothing to the party. “Of what value is he when he brought no single vote?  When it fits him, he alternately claims origins from Mandera, Uasin Gishu and Coast,” said a source within the NEC.  

UDF branches countrywide accuse him of undermining the restructuring of the party ahead of scheduled national elections in October. Petitions from branches to discipline errant officials and change of officials been blocked by Hassan.

He showed us a bitter exchange between Mudavadi’s private secretary Kibisu Kabatesi and Hassan over MCAs invitation to Maanzoni last week. Apparently Mudavadi had instructed Kabatesi to invite the MCAs, a decision which Hassan attempted to countermand.

“Good afternoon, kindly not that the scheduled meeting invited by Kabatesi is only for NEC members. We shall call you for your meeting,” wrote Hassan to invited MCAs.

“Party chairman, kindly note that the invitation was by the party leader not me. If you’ve a problem with bonafide MCAs reps at NEC, consult with party leader rather than undermining his instructions. Otherwise the MCAs invitation by the party leader still stands,” shot back Kabatesi in an SMS copied to Mudavadi and the MCAs.

“We couldn’t believe that the chairman could challenge the party leader so openly. We know that Kabatesi speaks for the party leader and we found the chairman out of order and went to the retreat. Even at Maanzoni, he was busy inciting his NEC loyalists to walk out of the retreat to protest our presence!” said a shocked MCA.

Hassan has for long come under a barrage of accusations from party branches in the western region of sabotaging the NEC and party leader Musalia Mudavadi strongholds by either hiding petitions or refusing to sign resolutions passed by NEC which he chairs, in exchange for handouts. Hassan was reprimanded for sitting on a NEC resolution confirming change of branch officials in Vihiga. Hassan and nominated senator Martha Wangari who is also party treasurer met a former secretary in Vihiga even after Hassan was accused in Lamu by MCAs of “calling and assuring the deposed official that nothing will happen as he will not sign” confirmation of new officials in Vihiga branch.

UDF parliamentary colleagues have noted that after replacing Mudavadi in the nomination slot and going to parliament, Hassan has abandoned party affairs and scattered the UDF parliamentary group for Muslim and Somali MPs caucuses. In a Naivasha retreat last November, sources say he pushed for Mudavadi to call a press conference and renounce the cooperation. But to the shock of many he was the main lobbyist for retaining cooperation at a March retreat at Elmenteita while the majority participants denounced the cooperation. 

Hassan is further accused of working in cahoots with and protecting dissenters and links with URP leadership. UDF circles are suspicious that given his sour relationship with presidential adviser Abdikadir, the chairman is working with the URP wing of the Jubilee coalition and has become an intermediary for majority leader Duale in recruiting UDF MPs. For instance, efforts to discipline Boni Khalwale have come a cropper as he has sat on a petition for recall from Kakamega branch since November last year.