Saturday, May 5, 2012



By Mosoku Geoffrey
The Star, Nairobi
May 2 2012

The UDF party was formed in April 2011 by individuals who are close to President Kibaki and was initially linked to DPM Uhuru Kenyatta. Kibaki's PA Prof Nick Wanjohi was central in the formation of UDF which began through recruitment training exercises camouflaged as leadership training forums held in secret locations in Karen and Limuru.

Wanjohi and Francis Xavier Wangombe, who works at the Office of the President as a finance officer, were said to be facilitators of the training.

Former and current intelligence officials had been tasked to identify key people across Kenya to attend the "training". Those targeted included opinion leaders and youth and women representatives from all counties to be conscripted into the "leadership and governance" programme. Between April 2011 and August 2011, more than 20 sessions were held with at least 50 participants, each session costing about Sh1.2 million paid to trainers and participants.

Participants in the leadership forums were paid Sh10, 000 per diem for the three days they attended at the Corat Africa Conference Centre in Nairobi’s Karen area. “We were approached by some former intelligence officer who asked us to attend the trainings with transport and accommodation offered,” one participant from Nakuru told the Star then.

In one of the sessions, Wanjohi was listed as a facilitator and participants confirmed that he took them through various issues. USIU Political Science don Prof. Munene Macharia led a series of lectures on leadership skills, political mobilization and recruitment strategies.
Nairobi University's history don Dr. Amatsimbi Misigo and his sociology counterpart Prof Mbatia were part of the trainers who took the participants through Kenya's political history and recruitment approaches and networking receptively.

When the Star broke the story and revealed Corat Africa Conference Centre in Karen as the venue of the 'trainings', the party changed tact and sought an alternative venue. The organizers then moved to little known Demisse Sisters Centre in Karen to avoid attracting journalists. They later again moved to Limuru for another round of sessions.

Delegates were picked up from the City Centre in unmarked vans and booked into the venue. Unlike at Corat, they were not provided with a programme nor did they sign for their Sh10, 000 per diem.
All the activities of the party were being done in a clandestine way to conceal any evidence of UDF spending as our source then said the money for running 'the training, leadership and governance symposium' programmes was being sponsored by state officers, and some powerful individuals working for the Office of the President.