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New Bunge la Mwananchi President, Francis Awino, vows to prioritize members’ needs

By Winnie Onyando December 13th, 2023 2 min read

Activist Francis Awino has been elected as the new president of Bunge la Mwananchi, a social movement that has been active since the early 1990s. Awino, who is set to be sworn in on December 14, 2023, expressed his commitment to ensuring that the needs of the organization’s members are given top priority during his tenure.

Speaking to Nairobi News shortly after receiving his certificate, Awino conveyed his dedication to protecting the rights of Bunge la Mwananchi members, emphasizing that no one will intimidate them under his leadership.

“I am humbled, and I am taking this opportunity to assure the members of Bunge la Mwananchi that nobody will infringe on their rights again. I will ensure that the people’s voices are heard,” Awino assured.

He also outlined plans for regular gatherings, stating that every Thursday, members will converge at Jevanjee Gardens to discuss pressing issues and chart a way forward for the movement.

Additionally, Awino pledged that elections within the organization would adhere to the constitution, with a two-year election cycle.

In the recent election, Awino secured victory with 37 votes. Other candidates, Mishael Kira, Rajab Were, Isaac Otieno, Solomon Mwangi, and Patrick G Kamotho, received five, zero, three, zero, and four votes, respectively. The total number of registered voters for the election was 730.

The announcement was made by Robert Kiberenge, the chairman of the Bunge la Mwananchi election committee, exercising the authority vested in him as the chairman, declared, “By the powers bestowed upon me as the chairman of the Bunge la Mwananchi, I hereby declare Francis Awino as the President of our movement. He is deputised by Maurice Masinga.”

This declaration followed a temporary disruption caused by police intervention during the ongoing elections.

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Addressing the issue, Kiberenge explained that the police action was triggered 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.

Admitting the oversight in acquiring the necessary clearance letter, Kiberenge clarified, “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 proceeded to count the votes that had been cast before the police intervened in the election process.

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

Addressing the media, President-elect Awino promised to prioritize the needs of the members and ensure the restoration of the movement’s dignity. “No one will ever again interfere with the elections,” he asserted.

Awino is taking over the presidency from Calvince Okoth, popularly known as Gaucho, who served in the position for the past two years.

Founded during a one-party state era, Bunge la Mwananchi was established as a social movement in the early 1990s with the goal of holding the ruling government accountable. Over the years, the movement has expanded its reach, with active members in 26 counties.

Bunge la Mwananchi conducts elections for various leadership positions, including the president, vice president, speaker, and women’s representative, at its headquarters in Jevanjee.