What should have been a housekeeping meeting of learned friends yesterday turned into a heckling contest punctuated by thinly veiled insults as the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) suspended all 10 council members in a heated, chaotic convention.
LSK’s Gitanga Road office could have passed for a busy open-air market, as some lawyers voiced their opinions while shouting down those that opposed them.
The Special General Meeting (SGM) was called to discuss the appointment of auditors to probe LSK’s books of accounts, deliberate on an impeachment motion against Mr Havi, the suspension of some council members and the appointment of advocates to represent the lobby in court cases involving internal wrangles.
Months of infighting have split the LSK into two factions—one backing Mr. Havi and another on CEO Mercy Wambua’s side.
Yesterday’s SGM was called to settle the differences that have threatened to stall operations at the lawyers’ umbrella body.
After more than five hours of an impasse over how to proceed with the meeting, Mr. Havi dismissed the impeachment motion filed against him by lawyer Gad Aguko, just moments after members suspended the council. The council oversights the LSK’s operations, just as boards of directors watch over companies.
Mr Havi made it clear that ongoing efforts to unite the two factions will likely not work, an indication that the fights at the society are a long way from over.
“We have listened to your calls that we unite. But you must realise the queer nature of this… We come here with differences. There has been interference and I’ve taken to the podium here and said who is interfering with the running of LSK. So don’t come and tell me to unite with those people,” Mr Havi said.
Council member Roseline Odede resigned just moments before the vote suspending her colleagues. Ms Odede cited a hostile working environment, and had recommended that the entire council resigns.
The suspension motion initially targeted the eight council members believed to be on Ms Wambua’s side.
Bernard Ngetich, Aluso Ingati, Carolyne Mutheu, Faith Odhiambo, Linda Emukule, Beth Michoma, Ndinda Kinyili and George Omwansa are believed to back Ms Wambua and oppose Mr Havi.
But the motion was amended in the course of the meeting to include the two council members allied to Mr Havi — Herine Kabita and Esther Ang’awa.
Only 300 lawyers were physically present at LSK’s Gitanga Road headquarters, while more than 3,000 attended the meeting through online platform Zoom.
Some of the online attendees, like prominent lawyers PLO Lumumba and Linda Obonyo, were denied a chance to speak when Mr Havi brought on the floor the first motion—whether or not to hire audit firm Parker Randall.
Ms Obonyo was granted a chance to speak hours later, but Mr Havi ordered that her microphone be muted the moment she demanded that the voting on motions be done through a proper poll other than a show of hands.
Several other lawyers attending the SGM online, who either demanded a proper poll involving counting of supporters and opponents of motions, or those who said anything against Mr Havi’s control of the heated session, were also quickly muted.
Those physically present and in disagreement with Mr. Havi did not have it easy either.
When the now suspended Mr. Omwansa demanded that the voting proceeds via a poll, Mr. Havi branded him a saboteur. In a somewhat sense of irony, Mr. Havi had pushed for the SGM to have Ms. Wambua removed, but the LSK President came face to face with the same axe as a section of lawyers sought to impeach him with less than a year in office.
Ms. Wambua sued the LSK last year to stop her removal, and the High Court issued orders barring the discussion of the case or her removal at the SGM. That was not to be as the two factions traded accusations in the course of the meeting.
Mr. Havi accused Ms. Wambua of sabotage, while the CEO maintained that a false narrative was being created against her.
Mr. Havi has been in office for just under 11 months now, but his term has been divisive as he now leads one of two factions at the LSK, which are in the middle of a vicious battle for control of the institution.
Yesterday, lawyer Caroline Thuo described the war as the elephant in LSK’s room, warning that it could disrupt the institution’s smooth running.
Deputy President William Ruto is a man on a mission.
He has aggressively moved to consolidate his Rift Valley power base by forcefully courting his opponents, the latest being former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto and West Pokot county chief John Lonyangapuo.
A few days after residents advised him to work with Ruto or brace for more days in the political cold, the former governor who is the Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) party leader, was on hand to receive the DP in Bomet last Friday.
“We love you but if you want to save your political career, work with the DP,” residents could be heard telling him in Kalenjin in a video that went viral on social media last week.
The DP was in Bomet to commission projects funded by the county government and the Constituencies Development Fund (CDF).
He also handed over a bus to National Super League side Silibwet FC and later presided over a fundraiser for boda boda saccos in Sotik.
During the event, the former Council of Governors (CoG) chairman and a fierce critic of the DP promised the latter his full support, saying: “These people have promised me they are going to give you yours and also give me mine.”
A vocal leader, the former governor has often had a love-hate relationship with the DP and has on several occasions tried to break away from his larger-than-life profile in the region— albeit unsuccessfully.
This basically informed his decision to form the CCM party with the famous slogan “Pesa Mashinani”.
However; DP Ruto has always prevailed—pushing him into the political cold during the 2017 General Election where the DP’s gubernatorial candidate the late Joyce Laboso triumphed in Bomet.
Dr Laboso died in office paving the way for her deputy Hillary Barchok to take over the mantle.
The DP has moved further to tighten his grip in the region’s politics by raiding independence party Kanu and the ODM by winning over hitherto fiery critics such as Lonyangapuo and his Turkana counterpart Josephat Nanok, respectively, into supporters of the “Hustler Movement.”
DP Ruto’s latest moves and the support he enjoys in the region are likely to force Senator Gideon Moi back into the drawing board over Rift Valley politics.
“Leaders must walk together and reject the politics of the tribe. Instead, of competing on the basis of hatred and division, they should adopt the politics of issues, ideologies and development track-record that will, in the long run, empower ordinary Kenyans,” the DP said in a message posted on his social media account.
The message accompanied pictures of him with the West Pokot Governor, saying: “Paid a courtesy call on Governor Prof. Lonyangapuo; discussed development issues touching on West Pokot.”
But contacted, Kanu secretary general Nick Salat said the former ruling party was not surprised with Isaac Ruto’s defection to the DP’s corner.
“To us in Kanu his move has not come as a blow, it has not affected us in any way since this is someone who has always had many demands to be fulfilled which no one can meet and that is what is making him to hop from one camp to the other,” said Salat.
“You cannot be with Uhuru today, tomorrow you are with Raila and the next day you are with Ruto,” he added.
Tiaty MP William Kamket also downplayed the impact of the latest defections to the DP’s camp, saying they were motivated by monetary gain.
While endorsing the DP’s bid, Isaac Ruto said his change of heart was informed by unfair political wars targeted at the DP.
“We have decided to work together so that you succeed in your quest in 2022 and also unite the region.”
The former governor was a big catch for the DP considering he has been trying to carve out a niche for himself in the vote-rich South Rift which is inhabited by the populous Kipsigis sub-tribe of the Kalenjin.
But the defection to Ruto’s camp has caused anxiety within Barchok’s camp.
In what seems to be an indirect endorsement of the former governor for the Bomet gubernatorial seat, the DP told the former governor to join in the drive towards uniting the community if he wanted to avoid yet another time in the political cold.
“We want him to come here so that we can walk this journey together…we want him to be here and not there and I have told him well that if he does not agree to come and support us in this journey then the break that these people gave you will continue until you retire from politics,” said the DP amid cheers from the crowd.
This statement has now ignited a fresh political war between the DP and Barchok who feels he has been thrown under the bus.
Barchok has been trying to maintain his grip in the county as he eyes the seat in 2022.
Displeased with the former governor’s defection, Barchok even skipped the DP’s event in Londiani in Kericho a day after the Bomet functions.
The buzz of blood-thirsty mosquitoes would momentarily be drowned by gunshot sounds as three lawmakers braced the unforgiving chilly Sunday night.
With help taking too long to arrive, the night was long and terrifying. Children cried as their mothers held them tight under beds.
MPs Lokiru Ali Mohammed (Turkana East), James Lomenen (Turkana South) and John Lodepe (Turkana Central) were in an unfamiliar territory.
Kapedo, a volatile area at the border of Baringo and Turkana counties, was under siege from bandits.
Hours before, General Service Unit Operation Commander Emadau Tebakol had been shot dead at Ameyan bridge shortly after attending a peace meeting alongside the MPs.
Two other officers were injured in the attack that occurred approximately seven kilometers from Kapedo center.
The MPs were surrounded by attackers who prevented them from leaving after donating foodstuff to families in Kapedo.
Three journalists – Mike Ekutan (Radio Maisha), Emmanuel Cheboit (Citizen TV), and Peter Warutumo (NTV) – also had to brave the cold night as they could not leave Kapedo.
Lokiru told our reporters they had gone to discuss how learners would resume learning and mourn with the locals the death of a man who was killed last week on Tuesday. The day was a success. However, the turn of events spoiled the party.
“We never closed our eyes. Gunshots could be heard all over. Women and children were in fear; they stayed in their homes and some spent nights under their beds for fear of being attacked,” Lokiru said.
The legislators said they had to spend the night in the cold as they were not prepared to sleep there. They sat down the whole night. He said they feared they could be attacked as the roads to Lokori had been blocked and the Ameyan road to Marigat was not safe either.
Mosquitoes had a party and could not spare the leaders as there were no nets to keep off the blood-thirsty insects. Lodepe said they were the target and pleaded with the government to come to their rescue. He said until that day, he had never come close to a gunshot sound.
He said they spent the night without food as the vehicle that was to bring them food was attacked on its way to Lokori.
Lomenen said they wondered why it took security officers long to respond.
Moments before he was killed, Tebakol had a meeting with security personnel and locals.
According to Turkana East sub-county commander Edwin Ogwari, the senior GSU officer was returning to Nairobi after his fact-finding mission on attacks in the region when the attackers laid ambush.
The attack comes days after bandits attacked Kapedo village and killed an old man and injured three other people on Tuesday last week.
The scene of the ambush where the officer was killed is a steep valley near a river with a narrow bridge.
A bush also surrounds the area with huge rocks nearby, making it difficult for one to see any approaching danger.
The area has been characterized by endless bandit attacks and many have been killed, including police officers.
Armed cattle rustlers from two warring communities over the years have engaged in attacks and retaliatory raids, and the government’s disarmament attempts have failed.
Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya once described the area as a lawless jungle that would be dealt with firmly.
On Thursday, Natembeya blamed insecurity in the area on lack of political goodwill and the porous borders.
He said there had been a deliberate attempt by politicians to frustrate security agencies enforcing law and order in the region for their political survival.
Yesterday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i announced plans for “unprecedented operation” in pursuing the perpetrators of the attack on the GSU security personnel.
The CS said that initial investigations had revealed that the ambush took place in the backdrop of a ritual ceremony, in which organized bandits were intentionally charged and adjured by some traditional leaders.
“The Inspector-General of the National Police Service has since launched an unprecedented operation in the area, and will not relent until the perpetrators, including the elders who administered the oath and sent off the killers, are surrendered and brought to book,” said Dr Mataing’i.
He said some local leaders had been patronizing the deadly attacks in pursuit of criminal and selfish interests.
Two police officers and a Cashier have been arrested over Monday’s daring robbery at Prime Bank’s Mombasa Road branch.
The officers from the Critical Infrastructure Unit were on guard duties at the bank when the robbery occurred in the afternoon, involving six robbers.
“The two are currently undergoing investigative interviewing to establish how they also lost two firearms with a total of 60 rounds of ammunition in the heist,” the DCI said. “Also assisting our officers with investigations is a cashier at the Mombasa road-based bank.”
They told authorities that the robbers first snatched their firearms and shot at a guard before they stormed the bank and stashed money in bags.
But DCI boss George Kinoti says preliminary investigations have established that they were part of the robbery.
Their Scorpion firearms loaded with 60 rounds each were recovered outside Kiambu Hospital, where they were dropped by men on a motorbike shortly after the robbery.
Authorities believe the officers were part of the robbery at Prime Bank.
A short video captured by a witness in the Prime Bank building shows how the six men took strategic positions at the compound, one with a pistol at the gate, before they walked away with bags believed to have contained the cash.
“We are looking for the six robbers,” a detective involved in the investigation told Capital FM News, “the two police officers and Cashier are assisting us in the investigation.
Moments before he was gunned down by bandits on Saturday in Kapedo, General Service Unit (GSU) Operation Commander Emadau Tebakol had a meeting with security personnel and locals.
Tebakol’s last words gave hope to the locals -who despite being under siege, felt their cries had been heard and the insecurity issue will be addressed.
The officer was the second speaker at a peace meeting held under a tree at the trading center where he assured the villagers that he will do what it takes to end the conflict in the area. In his address, he called on the locals to join hands with the security officers deployed to the area to hold the enemy at bay.
As if aware of the invisible enemy watching from a distance, the officer had his rifle firm in his hands as he delivered what can now be accurately described as his last public engagement.
“Let’s join hands, we will win this war. The camp here has been with you for long and if we join hands no enemy will penetrate. We have also deployed additional Rapid Deployment Unit (RDU), officers. We now have a great team,” he said in a speech recorded in a video captured on the telephone by one of the residents.
The officer had also asked parents to allow their children to go back to school.
“The enemy cannot prevent us from having children in school. Learners should be in school starting tomorrow,” said the officer.
Minutes after the officer and his team left the venue of the meeting, he was shot dead by suspected bandits who had laid an ambush at Ameyan Bridge.
The bridge is approximately seven kilometers from Kapedo center. The attack comes days after bandits attacked Kapedo village and killed an old man and injured three other people on Tuesday last week.
Three Members of Parliament allegedly were also locked up in the village and were forced to spend their night at the center. The MPs had paid a visit to the victims of last week’s attack and were distributing food. They include Ali Lokiru- Turkana East, James Lomenen-Turkana South, and John Lodepe-Turkana Central.
The political power play unfolding at City Hall is far from over. In a surprise twist of events, Anne Kananu Mwenda has taken over as the substantive Governor barely three days after her installation as Deputy Governor.
Nairobi Governor Benson Mutura officially handed over on Monday the instruments of power at City Hall.
Ms. Mwenda pledged to stay clear of politics and concentrate on quality service delivery to Nairobi residents.
“I affirm that I will lead from the front in heeding the call of the president to radically improve the provision of services in the city …Nairobi is now back on course and will remain so”, she said.
On his part, Mutura thanked all those who supported him while as acting governor. He assured the deputy governor of the County assembly’s full legislative support.
Kananu made history as the first woman deputy governor of Nairobi City County after being sworn in by Justice John Mativo on Friday.
Her swearing-in after she appeared before the county vetting committee which cleared her and the subsequent unanimous adoption of the committee’s report by the Nairobi City County assembly.
Anne Kananu was nominated by former Nairobi governor Mike Sonko to be his deputy in January 2020.
More to follow…