Awino takes over from ‘Gaucho’ as president of Bunge la Mwananchi

Activist Francis Awino has been declared the president of Bunge la Mwananchi, a prominent social justice movement.

The announcement was made by the chairman of the Bunge la Mwananchi election committee Mr Robert Kiberenge, at Jeevanjee Gardens in Nairobi on Thursday.

“By the powers bestowed upon me as the chairman of the Bunge la Mwananchi, I hereby declare Fancis Awino as the President of our movement. He is deputised by Maurice Masinga,” Mr Kiberenge announced.

His declaration followed swiftly in the wake of the police intervention that disrupted the ongoing elections at Jivanjee Gardens mere hours earlier.

Addressing the issue of the disrupted election, Mr Kiberenge, said that the police intervention was sparked by the absence of a letter from the Regional Commander confirming authorization for the event.

“The elections were progressing seamlessly from 8 am in the morning. However, around 10 am, the police dispersed the voters, demanding that we present a letter indicating permission to hold the elections,” shared Kiberenge.

Addressing the oversight in acquiring the necessary clearance letter, Kiberenge explained, “Last Tuesday, we visited the OCS officer, and we were instructed to draft a letter to the Regional Commander while also copying the OCS office. We promptly complied with the directive.”

Despite the disruption, the movement went ahead and counted the votes that had been casted before police interrupted the election process.

“The reason why I decided to announce the results is because there is no need of postponing the election. On the other hand, four candidates out of six agreed to accept the results,” Mr Kiberenge added.

During the counting process, the new president who is taking over renowned politician Calvince Okoth aka Gaucho garnered 37 votes. Mishael Kira got five votes, Rajab Were (0), Isaac Otieno (3), Solomon Mwangi (0) and Patrick G Kamotho got four votes.

Addressing the media, Mr Awino promised to restore the dignity of the movement.

“I will ensure that the needs of the members are catered for. No one will ever again interfere with the elections,” Mr Awino said.

The total number of registered voters was 730.

Founded in the early 1990s as a social movement during a one-party state, Bunge la Mwananchi aims to keep the ruling government in check.

In its early years, the president served for several years before a new leader was elected, but election periods have since been shortened.

With active members in 26 counties, Bunge la Mwananchi holds its elections for president, vice president, speaker and women’s representative at its headquarters in Jeevanjee.

Delegates from each county attend these elections and vote on behalf of the members. After the votes are counted, the winners are sworn in two weeks later.

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