Chaos disrupt Hindu elections in Mombasa

The planned elections for the Mombasa Muslim Bhadala Jamat Community were bungled Sunday after rival groups clashed.

Police were forced to intervene as members of two rival camps eyeing the committee chairman position threw blows and kicks at each other.

The fracas erupted after members of the Grana clan were allegedly refused entrance and blocked to attend the annual general meeting and participate in the election of new committee members.

Addressing the media outside the Bhadala Hall along the Saba Saba road, Jafarali Kassam who is eyeing the committee chairman position threatened to go to court on Monday if he and the Grana clan are stopped from attending the annual general meeting and participate in the elections.

They have refused to allow me and my over 200 supporters a chance to go in and vote. If we don’t vote today, then I will head to the high court on Monday,” said Kassam.

Kassam and his supporters have alleged that there is a plan by the current sitting committee of the Jamat to block them out of the elections, over fears they would lose the poll.

They don’t have any court order or any other legal document to support their refusal of us to participate in the elections,” he said.

He reiterated that boycotting the elections was not on his mind at the moment and vowed to petition the matter in court if the elections go on without his team.

Mohammed Bashir, a representative of the Grana clan also alleged a plot by the current committee to lock them out claiming that they clan was not part of the Jamat.

The grans have been part of the Muslim bhadla jamat for over 70 years now. There is no formal written communication to explain to us why we are now not part of this jamat,” said Bashir.

He said the current committee resorted to schemes to block the community from voting after the about 200 grana members decided to support the chairman’s opponent.

They have been overwhelmed by the numbers they see outside waiting to vote for Irfan Jafarali Kassam as the new chair. This is unfair and not a true representation of what a free and fair elections should be,” he said.

He said constitutionally, the members of the bhadala jamat cannot be expelled en masse.

The only way a member can be expelled, he said, was by passing a two-thirds majority vote and only one member can be expelled at a time.

They have to vote for each and every members’ expulsion by passing a two third majority vote on them to expel them from the community,” he said.

With a voter turnout of about 500 community members, he said that Jafarali was headed for a resounding win given that he had the grana block backing his bid.

Ifran Jafarali, who was injured during the fracas, said that the current committee was in office illegally having failed to conduct a proper election in the last eight years.

He says since 2014, no annual general meeting has been called for and the elections were supposed to have taken place in 2018.

The committee is in office illegally and now are using tricks and manipulation to ensure that they remain in power.” He said.

He also called for an independent body to conduct the elections citing possible irregularities should the poll be superintended by a team picked by current office bearers.

How can a current committee take part in an election with them being the electoral body too. It is not fair, the outcome will automatically be manipulated to favor them,” he said.

He also questioned the procedure used to call for the elections saying that most members were not even aware of the list of candidates vying until they got into the hall.

At the same time, he accused the current committee of corruption saying it had embezzled money that’s why they were fighting tooth-to-neck to remain in office.

Looking at an independent audit we did, we are currently talking about a balance of Sh3 million, whereas for the last eight years to date, we should have a balance of around Sh40 million,” he said.

  

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