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Financial Mismanagement Drives Away Donors From Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organization

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The National Chairperson chaired MYWO National Steering Committee (NSC) meeting on 14th February 2024.

Donor funds and control of property are at the heart of a vicious fight within Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organisation (MYWO) where two factions have locked horns.

A faction led by Shurea Robley has accused the organisation’s chairperson Rahab Mwikali of alleged lack of transparency on the book of accounts and clinging on leadership despite her term having expired.

“Rahab has never submitted audited accounts since 2014 when she took office, secondly, their chair is supposed to serve for a maximum of two terms yet she is on her term,” claimed Robley who demanded for a detailed account of rental income estimated to be about Sh35 million.

With a membership of 4 million, the wrangles are threatening to tear apart the organisation whose main agenda is socio-economic and political empowerment of women.

There are also allegations of donor flight due to absence of transparency and accountability. Some of the donor funded programmes that have since stopped include education of the girl child funded by the Chinese government, HIV/Aids and FGM funds from United Nations Population Fund, and funds from United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) geared towards curbing high school drop-outs.

At the same time Robley accused Mwikali of unfairly sacking some staff who went to court that ruled in their favour.

When reached for comment Mwikali denied existence of squabbles. “Shurea is not a member of this organisation having been removed in 2019, through a decision made in an Annual General Meeting. We have been in the media highlighting what we do and there is no any squabble,” she said.

However a letter written by Shabaan’s advocates to MYWO painted a picture of trouble in the organisation due to financial mismanagement.

“We look upon your office to take action upon all the illegal activities taking place in Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organisation and cause the current holders to vacate office, compel the organization to have a well organized Annual General Meeting, organize fresh elections and have external and internal audits conducted on the books of accounts,” reads the letter.

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It is claimed that the new chairman of the NGO board Moses Mabonga has initiated plans for the removal of Mwikali as the chair but his efforts are being frustrated by the executive director Mutuma Nkanata.

The chairman is a man with sound values and wants to salvage this institution. It is alleged Mabonga has the nod to execute this mandate by the highest office in the land read State House.

MYWO constitution is clear that any member of the organisation can peruse the accounts of the organisation if she so wishes. This is not so, as the offices have hired goons stationed at the entrance of Maendeleo House, the headquarters, guarding and only friends of Mwikali can access it let alone peruse the non-existing books of accounts.

For Mwikali, like one drowning, she is hanging on slim grass to save herself.

Nkanata is the grass that she is holding onto. Nkanata has been protecting her defying all attempts to remove Mwikali. Like all entrenched cartels, letting go off this priced milking cow and cherished source of money is not an idea they wish to even think of.

In the just concluded general election, Nkanata was counting on Mwikali both for the financial war chest as well as the grassroots women. Mwikali was his source of campaign kitty and therefore he is doing all it takes to protect her.

Nkanata, it is emerging, is the chief architect of sustaining Mwikali. Members say, common sense dictates that power has changed hands and those who were protecting Mwikali are out of government. Any reasonable person would have first preserved his job by dissociating with Mwikali but not Nkanata. Like the proverbial stubborn fly that clang to the corpse and was buried with it, he is still hoping to save Mwikali.

The NGO board has greatly aided the criminal activities of Mwikali and done a great injustice to the grassroots leaders.

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Due to the absence of transparency and accountability, donors have taken a flight. Apart from 2019 when she attempted to, Mwikali has not submitted annual reports and audited financial statements since July 2014 when she took the reins of MYWO.

All is happening as Mwikali has a mandate given by the NGO board to sign on all MWYO cheque despite the fact that she is not the treasurer. It is a normal practice that all sound institutions have separation of powers.

As it is now, MYWO is not properly constituted because in July 2014, women elected eight national officials and only three are managing it. The other legitimate officials have been barred from the office by the hired goons Mwikali has stationed at the door of the headquarters of the women movement. She has handpicked friendly officials to replace the legitimate ones.

For now, fear is MYWO is not serving its purpose of supporting grassroots women. The donors of yesteryears have fled due to lack of accountably thus denying deserving women the much sort after helping hand.

On December 9 last year, she was endorsed by her friends for another third term. MYWO constitution, does not allow three terms. MYWO is a now a family business and a friends’ social club as Mwikali sacked all employees and runs the organisation into ruins all as staff with capacity were sacked in 2014 via a night email.

MYWO members have appealed to Gender, Culture, Arts Heritage cabinet secretary Aisha Jumwa to crack the whip.

It is said the CS wants Mwikali out as she cannot see how a giant organisation of 4 million members can be in the hands of opposition. The CS wants to use MYWO to channel development to the grassroots women.

However, her efforts are being frustrated by Nkanata. It is said, the CS means and wants well for Kenyan women. She has worked her way with the gift of oratory, which has enabled her to be on the table of the king. She deserves all the support; nobody has the monopoly of ideas, all she needs is suitable advisors.

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Sources say Mwikali has taken a loan from Equity Bank of Sh14 million, which she wants to manipulate and default so that she can buy Maendeleo House at a throw away price.
It beats logic why a building that has a rental income of Sh35 million would need a loan of Sh14 million yet she has skeleton staff of family members and no tangible projects to grassroots women is evidenced.

One of the excuses Mwikali is giving for not having elections is that there was no peace before last general election therefore MYWO elections could not be held. Members want Nkanata to be personally held responsible for the choking of the giant women movement.

The 2010 constitution of MYWO was sponsored by USAID with the sole reason of empowering the oldest, most vibrant women movement in Africa and Kenya international platform through this best practice of institutional management.
All this is being watered down by Nkanata who is accused of allowing illegal amendments to the constitution.

MWYO has traditionally been a pacesetter in institutional management and best practice. This impunity is grossly most expensive. The matter has been in court and the court has ruled that Mwikali and her agents be restrained from MYWO operations.

However, the court file has kept on disappearing and appearing several times raising eyebrow.
A section of bitter members have sworn that no effort will be spared until Mwikali is taken behind bars. For justice to be done Nkanata, who is arrogant and drops the name of Interior CS Kindiki Kithure, is a marked person.


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