The planned elections for the Mombasa Muslim Bhadala Jamat Community bungled after rival groups clashed.
Police were forced to intervene and almost lobbed teargas canisters as members of two rival camps eying 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 Jomo Kenyatta avenue, Jafarali Kassam who is eying the Committee Chairman position threatened to go to court on Monday if he and the Grana clan were going to be refused to attend 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 that wants to block them out of the elections, fearing to lose to them.
“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 plan vowing that if the elections go on without them, they shall meet in court.
Mohammed Bashir, a representative of the Grana clan 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 Bhadala 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 alleged a plot by the current committee 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 that constitutionally, 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 to a straight win given that he had the grana block supporting him.
Ifran Jafarali, who was injured on the left eye 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 said that since 2014, no annual general meeting has been called for and the elections were supposed to have taken place in 2018.
He also called for an independent body to conduct the elections saying that the way they were going to be conducted was not fair as those verifying voters’ details were the same committee members vying 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.