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Citizen Weekly

Sunday 14 December 2014


Just what were former president Mwai Kibaki’s private secretary Nick Wanjohi and expelled former UDF chairman Hassan Osman meeting over last week at a secret rendezvous? Just as the case Hassan has filed at the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal against his sacking looked paddling to the rocks, the two were spotted in an animated conversation for hours at a hotel in Westlands, Nairobi.
Our sources who greeted the duo said Hassan appeared desperately pleading as Wanjohi calmly listened throughout the two-hour meeting on Monday last week afternoon. It is suspected that Hassan was appealing to the professor to intercede with UDF leader Musalia Mudavadi to save him the ignominy of losing his coveted nomination to the National Assembly given that his case at the tribunal appeared to have crumbled.
The hearing concluded last Tuesday with the ex-officials’ evidence marked by confusion, contradictions, self-incrimination and false testimony. Hassan and his allied key witnesses contradicted each other in testimonies marred by comic and fraudulent claims after being caught lying. The witnesses went against their sworn testimonies when they admitted falsifying their status as party officials and presenting fraudulent documents to the court. All, including Hassan, were seen to be conveniently playing the fool or ignorant on management of the party affairs.
But more awkward for the ex-officials was confirmation through their own evidence that UDF was a briefcase party held at ransom by family ties where husband and wife held contraband key positions, where people held non-existent posts and mismanagement was the rule of the thumb that ran unchecked. They portrayed the image of political wheeler-dealers and brokers rather than serious party officials. A dismayed tribunal at one point interjected that “if this is how you ran the party, this surely is an indication how the party was poorly managed”.
Wanjohi is the assumed key engine in the formation of UDF and was accused by Mudavadi allies of fermenting the dispute in UDF. He has denied the accusation but the meeting has raised eyebrows coming at the end shabby case Hassan took to the Tribunal. Hassan has been doing the rounds among UDF MPs asking for reconciliation so that he can retain his nomination to parliament in exchange for surrender of the chairmanship. Fellow ex-officials now accuse him as plotting to hang them to dry after herding them to court. 
The MPs say his appeals are not in good faith as he is a double-faced operator. “He is disparaging our party leader by cheating Somali and Muslim MPs that his expulsion is decimation of their community. He tells them he was holding the party as URP-allied Somali MPs base for 2017 negotiations with Jubilee. He does not want to admit he is the problem,” said an MP. Publicly, he has attempted to divide Mudavadi allies by alleging they are the problem and not Mudavadi. In a statement to media, Hassan claimed Mudavadi could easily accommodate him were it not for people around him. “Mudavadi is a good man. They are the ones misadvising Mudavadi,” he said. 
It is whispered that Hassan has no love lost for Mudavadi’s private secretary Kibisu Kabatesi whom he accuses of harassing him. But Kabatesi denied it saying Hassan’s tribulations are self-inflicted stating that “Hassan is unlikely to admit to intransigence, incompetence, arrogance, disrespect and sabotage charges brought against him by none other than his parliamentary colleagues. I am not an MP and neither am I a party official to know his foibles that intimately. All I know is that he is a very intelligent schemer”.
At the Tribunal, Hassan finally took the stand where the defence accused him of forging the signature of party CEO Petronila Were on documents he presented to the tribunal. To every question on his signatures, meetings, records and even amendments to the party constitution, Hassan adopted the famed Al Capone gangster style of testifying by responding evasively with “I cannot confirm” answers. He could not even confirm his own letters addressing Mudavadi as party leader!
The irascible Abraham Limo was exposed as a political mercenary after he amusingly admitted to being a “pathological liar” for claims he was the party secretary general. To the dismay of the court and damaging to the credibility of evidence by the ex-officials, Limo claimed he was the holder of three posts, that of secretary general, first deputy secretary general and chairman of the elections board. This was found most absurd as it is against the Political Parties Act. Limo appeared lost when he could not “remember” the work of an SG was to take minutes of meetings, communicate and keep records. He incredibly claimed he did not know that the UDF constitution was amended.
Peter Karanja’s testimony was the most damning of the ex-officials. Karanja had claimed to be the second deputy secretary general but like that claimed by Limo, could not find the post in the UDF constitution. He contradicted fellow witnesses by claiming he was ratified” to the post plus others at the NDC in January 2013. This is the contentious NDC that ratified Mudavadi as the party leader and was later confirmed in a NEC meeting chaired by Hassan. Despite a copy of the minutes from the Registrar of Political Parties being confirmed by the court, Karanja denied the NEC meeting took place.
More incriminating was Karanja’s evidence that brings the integrity of former treasurer senator Martha Wangari into disrepute. It could jeopardise her career. Karanja admitted and then denied that he was the husband of Senator Wangari. Yet Karanja readily admitted that he is a beneficially of the Parliamentary Service Commission medical scheme courtesy of Wangari. The scheme benefits only family members of legislators. This led to the tribunal to interject and ask him; “do you know the meaning of perjury or lying under oath?”
But this was before the tribunal was treated to further comic relief by another Nehemiah Rakamba who was accused of being a “hired witness”. He claimed to be the secretary general of Kisii branch but was caught lying when he was found to have signed NDC attendance as only a member. He had been brought in an attempt to discredit the special NDC that expelled the ex-officials but was instead confirmed qualified delegates attendee.
Final submission by plaintiff and defence lawyers are made this week.

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