Kuria’s CCM accused of fleecing aspirants as party official quits
When Chama Cha Kazi (CCM) was unveiled last year, its leader Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria succeeded in fashioning it as the alternative party to Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Movement in Mt Kenya politics.
He also projected it as the fallback plan to the Jubilee Party, whose popularity was fading.
Given Kuria’s then growing popularity in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s backyard, the party gained traction since a section of leaders skeptical to contest through Jubilee and those supportive of Ruto but found it unwise to join UDA warmed up to it.
Unlike other new outfits in Central Kenya such as The Service Party of Mwangi Kiunjuri, William Kabogo’s Tujibebe Wakenya and Governor Mwangi wa Iria’s Usawa Party, which attracted few and perceived lightweight aspirants, CCK wowed bigwigs among them governor aspirants Jamleck Kamau (Murang’a), Moses Kiari “Badilisha” of Nyandarua, Wangui Ngirichi (Kirinyaga), Kiambaa parliamentary aspirant Damaris Wambui and Limuru’s Jackie Nungari. The party also attracted thousands of other potential aspirants who neither wanted to join Kenya Kwanza nor Raila Odinga’s Azimio La Umoja coalitions.
But as the country heads to the August 9 election, the once go-to political vehicle has been rocked with controversy with dozens of aspirants accusing Kuria of denying them nomination certificates despite paying thousands of shillings for the documents.
Yesterday, dozens of disgruntled aspirants stormed the party’s headquarters in Garden estate, Nairobi, claiming to have paid registration and nomination fees only to be denied the documents.
The aspirants claimed that since the party concluded its primaries last week, the leadership has been reluctant to issue them with certificates, instead demanding more money from them.
“We are here because our party finished with nominations last week and we were to get the certificates. But instead of getting them, we are being invited to hotels by the Secretary General, who is demanding more money from us in order to release the certificates,” Mutuma Thuranira, who is eying the party’s ticket for the Meru Senate seat said.
Matters almost came to a heads after some hired goons attempted to attack the aspirants but were repulsed. Addressing the press, CCM deputy Organising Secretary Peter Muchendu resigned in a huff, claiming the leadership was no longer committed to promoting good and youthful leadership and has resorted to soliciting money from aspirants through nomination and exorbitant life membership fees.
Muchendu, in a letter to the party’s Secretary General Kimani Nage, accused its leadership of unilaterally running the party.
He, for instance, claimed the party had without any approval or consultation from the Executive Committee, introduced a life membership fee of Sh200,000 for Ward Rep aspirants and Sh500,000 for the other seats as a prerequisite for the aspirants to get their nomination certificates.
The move, he said, had locked out over 300 paid-up aspirants who cannot raise the new charges.
“It has also come to my attention that I have been portrayed by the party leader as a con artist. This has tainted my personal character and credibility within the party. I, therefore, cannot continue to be a member of the very party that has betrayed me, my beliefs and fellow young people whose political careers are about to be crushed,” Muchendu said.
While Kuria could not be reached for comment over the allegations, Kimani said he was not aware of the claims against the party, particularly by the former deputy organising secretary, saying. “I have only seen the letter on social media.”