Kwale governor Salim Mvurya is scheming for his own political party months after the collapse of talks with his Kilifi and Mombasa counterparts for a similar initiative. Back in April, Mvurya together with Mombasa governor Hassan Joho and Kilifi’s Amason Kingi announced the commencement of unity talks geared towards the formation of a Coast political party. This came shortly after the three governors were invited to State House Nairobi for a meeting with Uhuru Kenyatta. Speculation was then rife that the initiative was primarily meant to neutralise and lock out William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Coast political support in favour of One Kenya Alliance ahead of referendum and 2022 general elections. Shortly after, Joho and Mvurya developed cold feet on the initiative following negative political reactions on the ground.
Kingi remained the lone voice pushing the agenda but could not go far as he equally threw in the towel, and loudly lamented how Coast would continue to be ruled and dominated by outsiders due to disunity. But now, Mvurya wants a political party to primarily address his succession politics as he prepares to exit from the governor seat. The county boss who is thought to be close to Ruto wants to be succeeded by his deputy of nine years Fatuma Achani. He is, however, afraid that Lunga Lunga MP, Khatib Mwashetani, who is an insider in Ruto’s camp, will automatically be picked as the first choice of UDA candidate. To ensure his deputy and other close political associates are assured of being at the ballot in 2022, Mvurya wants to own a party. It was not immediately clear if he will purchase it or form one from the scratch. Tellingly, the governor was conspicuously absent from a Coast leaders meeting convened by DP in a Kilifi recently. Ruto was at Sun-and-Sand Resort in Kilifi a fortnight ago. He met Coast leaders and professionals to champion his economic empowerment blueprint and signing of a charter on what he will do for Coast residents if he succeeds in becoming the country’s fifth president in 2022.
But even as Mvurya schemes to front aspirants through his yet to be formed political party, on the ground things are different. The Mwashetani and Lung’anzi Chai’s political camps have made serious inroads. In Kinango sub-county, which has the highest number of voters, Lung’anzi, an engineer at Kenya Ports Authority, is seen as front-runner. Mvurya is also from the sub-county. The governor has been jeered when he attempts to campaign for his deputy in the area with shouts echoing maliza uende nyumbani (finish your term and go home). Lung’anzi has also penetrated parts of Lunga Lunga subcounty represented by Mwashetani whose stronghold is Diani. Tourism PS Safina Kwekwe is also being mentioned as a candidate, so is her agriculture counterpart, Hamad Boga. Former Transport minister Chirau Mwakwere is also in the governor’s race. But critics dismiss him as a political spent force of no consequence and an elitist. For a long time, talk for Coast political alliance has been on the lips of key players. Argument has been that Coast people are tired of seeking refuge in other political formations, and time was ripe to have their own space to exercise their democratic rights.
During a public function, there was drama when a section of those present stormed the podium dancing, carrying placards calling for coastal party slogans with others displaying a huge paper ball (tufe). The ‘ball’ was placed strategically at the podium throughout the function sending a clear message to all and sundry. Teddy Mwambire, Ganze MP, was to call for meaningful engagement, and unity among leaders as the call for regional party picked momentum. Mombasa governor Hassan Joho was at the centre of attacks as being against a coastal based political outfit. The Shimo-la-Tewa ward MCA Sammy Ndago even at onetime challenged Kingi to take charge degrading Joho as having failed to help the region or its people but only his family members. The Mombasa boss presidential bid has also been dismissed. MPs Owen Baya (Kilifi North) and Michael Kingi (Magarini) are said to be opposed to Kingi push to establish a coastal vehicle for 2022 elections but a section of legislators were for Kingi . Kadu Asili and Umoja Summit Party of Kenya whose secretary general is Naomi Cidi general are among the parties being considered.