The Wiper Democratic Movement has unveiled a new party structure and named 16 new officials as it strengthens itself in preparation for the 2017 polls. During a two-day retreat at Elementatita, Nakuru County, that ended yesterday, the party made amendments to its constitution to accommodate new structures, including a newly-formed summit.
The party appointed 16 new officials, with Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar taking over as secretary general to replace the late Mutula Kilonzo. Other members of the summit are party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, newly appointed deputy leader Shakila Abdalla, chairman David Musila, National Assembly Minority Leader Francis Nyenze and Wiper governors, including Machakos’ Alfred Mutua.
Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama was appointed co–chair of the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) Management Board, while Mary Kakuvi Mutuku, who has been Wiper’s representative in the Okoa Committee of Experts, is the party’s new acting executive director. The expanded party structure will also include four deputy chairpersons — Martin Kamwaro, Victor Ogeto, Halima Ware and Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr.
Wiper party declares Others are Senators Judy Sijeny and Peter Mathuki (deputy secretary generals), Robert Mbui (organising secretary) and Talib Badi and Jesica Mbalu (deputy organising secretaries).
Nyali MP Hezron Awiti was appointed party treasurer. He will be assisted by Dr Susan Musyoka. Although the forum had on Friday resolved that the party would field Kalonzo as its presidential candidate, the former vice president remained non-committal, saying the party would enter into an alliance to increase its chances of clinching the seat.
Pre-poll alliance “Even TNA, which enjoys instruments of power and incumbency, knows it cannot win the top seat without entering into an alliance. It is important that we form an alliance,” the CORD co-principal told the party’s top organ. Kalonzo asked party leaders to traverse the country to solicit for votes and promote the party.
“We will go everywhere and I am asking you to allow me to move out of Ukambani. I will visit each of your constituencies as we begin this journey,” the CORD co–principal said. He said a meeting he held at his Yatta home early this year, where supporters urged him to go for the top seat in the 2017 polls, was aimed at laying the ground for his 2017 campaigns.
“The invitation to Yatta was meant to put us together,” he said. The delegates also put the long awaited grassroots election were put on hold over fears that it could lead to a costly fall out and interfere with the party’s preparations for the 2017 elections.
Omar said the party would be rolling out a membership recruitment drive and encourage party supporters to get identity cards in readiness for voter registration.
Wrangles affecting Machakos and Makueni counties also dominated discussions at the meeting, with Kalonzo warning party MCAs to toe the line and avoid unnecessary conflicts with their governors.
The party said it is appalled by the re-emergence of high level corruption and demanded action against Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC) officials named in the chicken scandal. Wiper accused the Jubilee government of exhibiting arrogance over the digital migration debate, and demanded that KTN, NTV, QTV and Citizen TV transmissions be restored immediately.
“The stations should be allowed to return on air and be given time to import the set top boxes. The matter should handled expeditiously,” Omar said.
More than 30 MPs and Senators attended the retreat which brought together rival party members like Governor Mutua, his Deputy Bernard Kiala and Senator Muthama. The issue of rebels featured prominently during the retreat, with the party warning that it would take stern action against those who are deemed as not loyal.
“From now henceforth, the party will not hesitate to take very stern action against any member who does not follow the laid down regulations and the constitution,”
Omar, who read the party resolutions, said. Musila said the process of expelling rebels should continue if the party is to be strengthened.
“We recently expelled a few MCAs and the exercise is not yet over. We better have a few members who are committed to the ideals of the party than have an entire battalion of people who do not have the interest of the party,” Musila added.
The appointment of Omar, the outspoken Mombasa Senator, as Wiper’s secretary general means he will now take charge of the day-to-day affairs of the party.
Hassan is expected to marshal support for the party in Mombasa and across the Coast where he enjoys substantial support among the youth, with the support of Ms Abdalla who is the Lamu WomanRepresentative.
Another interesting entry is that of Kamwaro, who formerly served as United Democratic Movement (UDM) secretary general and at what one time fought a vicious battle with now Deputy President William Ruto for the control of the party.