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By CHARLES LWANGA
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The contest between Kilifi North lawmaker Owen Baya and his Malindi counterpart Aisha Jumwa is taking shape ahead of the 2022 race to succeed Governor Amazon Kingi.

The two Members of Parliament (MPs) are in the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) but have been supporting Deputy President (DP) William Ruto’s ambition for State House.

Their support for Mr Ruto came after the May 9 handshake between Mr Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta who is the Jubilee Party boss.

Mr Baya and Ms Jumwa have exchanged words in public on several occasions.

Last Friday at Kakuyuni, they confronted each other on their ambitions in front of the DP and Lands Chief Administrative Secretary Gideon Mung’aro, a former Jubilee governor candidate.

Mr Mung’aro, who was Jubilee’s point man in the 2017 poll, downplayed the rivalry.

“My boss is here … I will restrain from commenting on politics. I am currently indulging in development matters to improve livelihoods. The DP will explain in details,” he said.

Mr Baya, Ms Jumwa, Mr Mung’aro, Education executive Gabriel Katana and former Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi have indicated interest in the seat

Mr Baya’s strategy to win the hearts of residents seems to be based on improving the livelihoods of residents.

The former county secretary has been in the forefront of the fight for land ownership and improved farming across the region.

He played a crucial role in stopping the auctioning of the 66,000 acre Ganze ranch in Bamba and the prosecution of suspects behind the illegal sale of the land.

The MP toured the salt belt of Magarini accompanied by his counterpart Michael Kingi and pledged to challenge the salt firms report of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) to enable them get compensation.

Mr Baya has also spoken of the dwindling tourism and irrigation farming along River Sabaki.

“Tourism in the coast region, which is valued at about Sh3 trillion, has declined. I urge President Uhuru Kenyatta and the DP to consider listing tourism as their fifth agenda since it has the capacity to employ about 500,000 people,” he said at Kakuyuni.

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Mr Baya’s greatest achievement is the motion aimed at reviving the cashew nut sub-sector, which has the backing of coast legislators.

Ms Jumwa has promised to empower women so they can be independent. She has, on several occasions, invited Mr Ruto for fundraisers to support them.

The former Kilifi woman representative has also pushed for better education standards in her constituency and held discussions with religious leaders.

“I have met Christian and Muslim religious leaders who have projects to accomplish. I urge the DP to assist them once their plans are ready,” she said at Kakuyuni.

Ms Jumwa is also fighting against land grabbing at Weru Ranch, police harassment and for Malindi airport land compensation.

On several occasions, she has taken on local administration officials and reported them to their bosses in her fight for rights.

“I urge the DP to look into the issue of Kenya Forest Service (KFS) officers harassing residents at Kakuyuni and if possible, give them title deeds to prevent the harassment,” she told the DP at Kakuyuni.

Ms Jumwa is viewed as an important asset in ODM. Governor Kingi recently came to her defence after some of the party’s leaders attacked her for supporting Mr Ruto.

Mr Baya and Ms Jumwa have been jokingly referring to themselves as ‘handsome boy and ‘beautiful girl’ during public rallies on Mr Kingi’s successor.

At Kikuyuni, Ms Jumwa told her rival to shelve his ambition, join her as deputy governor and help her fulfill her promises.

Governor Kingi has also downplayed the rival between the two politicians, who have been summoned to appear before the ODM disciplinary committee on October 10 over supporting Mr Ruto.

The summonses caused hundreds of residents of Malindi to demonstrate last week, in a demand for the party to respect their leader.



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