Tempers flare as Kalonzo, Omar clash at Bomas
The simmering suspicion between President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza and Azimio Coalition of Raila Odinga threatened to boil over during the Bomas talks.
A war of words between Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka and East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) MP Hassan Omar erupted on the last day of the National Dialogue Committee sitting on Tuesday.
The two members of the committee engaged in a heated exchange when human rights activist Suba Churchill was making his submissions.
Embu Governor Cecily Mbarire, who was co-chairing the session with Kalonzo, unsuccessfully tried to cool down emotions in vein.
Hell broke loose when Kalonzo accused Omar of “demonizing” what Churchill and other groups had said during their submissions.
“There is this notion that the current president was not in government, yet he earned a salary as deputy president up to the month of September. Who recruited the Chebukatis of this world? How he even became the chair of the commission is a mystery we need to investigate,” Churchill said.
He went on : “In all recruitment processes (of IEBC commissioners), the top three can do the job. How did the second last person become the chair? There is manipulation that happened. And that’s why we need openness in the recruitment process moving forward. And we even know what people said, how good is Roselyn Akombe and other debates that went on. So don’t tempt us.”
At this point, Omar told Churchill to furnish him with that report that shows Chebukati came second last in the recruitment process.
“Wewe lete hio report,” Omar told Churchill.
The war of words erupted when Churchill declined a push by the Kenya Kwanza group to blame past election disputes on Opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Instead, Churchill blamed the poll debacles on “manipulation and rigging.”
But Mbarire tried to end argument, requesting the two to calm down.
A visibly angry Kalonzo took over the floor accusing Omar of being “childish.”
“This is a serious engagement, let’s avoid demonizing people. I have listened to Omar over time saying one constant factor, another constant factor and I want to know more as a running mate to Raila in 2013 and 2017, and you know because you were my Secretary General,” the Wiper party leader said.
“You conceded the election of 2007, ulipitia katikati yao,” Omar retorted
“That’s a different thing, yes I did and saved your country. When you stop being childish Omar, we will make progress,” Kalonzo cut him short.
Sensing that the situation was getting out of hand, Omar urged Kalonzo not to get angry.
But a worked-up Kalonzo went on to tell Omar that he would never be the governor of Mombasa and told him to stop attacking Raila.
Omar retaliated by telling him that he would never be president of Kenya.
Omar said: “Usitutishe hapa (don’t threaten us). You cannot come here and start intimidating us, saying governor here, governor there.”
Kalonzo responded: “You have been insulting everybody. I am ashamed that at one point you were secretary general of my party.”
Governor Mbarire asked the two to contain their emotions: “I want to beg both of you now stop what you are doing.”
The last two days of the receiving submissions were intense as the team rushed to hear submissions from various groups.
On the last day, a total of 21 submissions were presented.
The team is operating within a timeline of 30 days within which it is supposed to table its report in Parliament.
Submissions were based on five broad agenda items, including constitutional matters.
The agenda specifically was based on the cost of living and related issues, implementation of the “two-thirds gender rule” and governance issues, including promoting national unity, respect for multi-party democracy, inclusivity in public appointments and adequate checks and balances.
The committee was also supposed to collect views on electoral justice and related matters which will have restructuring and reconstitution of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), boundaries delimitation and audit of the 2022 presidential election.
It also sought public views on the entrenching National Government Constituencies Development Fund (NG-CDF), National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF) and the Senate Oversight Fund in the Constitution.