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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 3 August 2014


Embattled Kilifi North MP Gideon Mung’aro is plotting a major political coup in Coast politics which if successful, will catapult him into a regional kingpin position with a firm grip on the Mijikenda vote.

Mung’aro is set to launch a coast party with blessings of top State House officials. With president Uhuru Kenyatta set to defend his seat in 2017, the game plan is to have a coast outfit join Jubilee for future political bargains. The region voted for Raila Odinga in 2013 and Jubilee strategists believe it is up for grabs going by the current happenings in the region.

Already Uhuru has targeted the region, meeting politicians and opinion leaders at State House. His revocation of land titles in Lamu is part of the wider scheme.

Mung’aro who was relieved of his minority chief whip position by Cord has hit the ground running as evidenced by a charged political rally he hosted in Kilifi where pronouncements were spewed out by over 10 Coast MPs. 

Since his sacking, the Coastal political landscape has been polarised with threats that come next elections the region will go separate ways with Cord. The MPs hinted that the region will front its own presidential candidate in 2017, a signal that Cord leader Raila may no longer have a sway in region’s politics.

Sources within Mung’aro’s camp revealed that elaborate plans are afoot to unite all the nine Mijikenda subtribes namely Giriama, Digo, Duruma, Kambe, Rabai, Kauma, Chonyi, Jibana to make them a single major voting bloc. Mung’aro is reaching out to leaders at the grassroots to ensure the process is all-inclusive.

Mung’aro has reportedly contacted former Coast MPs Chirau Mwakwere, Morris Dzoro, Abdalla Ngozi, Simeon Mkalla among others to be his advisers in the new political journey. During the Kilifi rally convened to tell off Raila and give a new political direction, Mwakwere was among the speakers.

It is being said that in the event the plan to field a presidential candidate is adopted, Mwakwere is among the names that will feature. The plan is to use the Mijikenda vote as a bargaining chip to ascend to a higher political office. The Mijikenda-dominated constituencies are 15 and it is  argued that the same way Simeon Nyachae used his Kisii slots to enter into a political marriage with former President Mwai Kibaki, the same can happen if the Mijikenda are united.
The counties being targeted for the consolidation of the Mijikenda votes include Kilifi, Mombasa and Kwale. Four of the six Mombasa county constituencies have a huge population of Mijikenda. The constituencies in this category include Kisauni, Nyali, Likoni and Jomvu. Changamwe and Mvita have a heavy presence of Swahilis and upcountry voters.

But while Mung’aro is pushing for the consolidation of the Mijikenda Coast vote, his focus in the next general elections is to become the Kilifi county governor. Indeed, it is claimed his governorship ambitions may largely have contributed to his current political troubles within Cord. Those of this view point out that Kilifi governor Amason Kingi has never been comfortable from the time Mung’aro hinted he will be contesting for the seat in 2017.

Kingi is a close associate of Mombasa governor Hassan Joho who is said to have prevailed on Raila to push for the removal of Mung’aro from the Cord minority whip’s position. According to Kingi, the removal of Mung’aro was meant to tame him politically. It is claimed Kingi begged Joho to push Raila to fire Mung’aro.

Initially, it is said Raila was reluctant to lead the onslaught but he was informed that Mung’aro, if not tamed would sway Coast to Jubilee. The Kwale leaders’ delegation to State House which met Uhuru was given as an example. He was further informed Mung’aro had skipped the Tononoka rally and was also against the push for a referendum.

However, analysts say Cord’s action may turn out to be a godsend opportunity to unite the Mijikenda and to help Mung’aro ascend to the Mugogo position which had remained unoccupied since the death of former minister Karisa Maitha.

Sources point out that if Cord decides to push Mung’aro to a point of seeking for fresh mandate, it would be a walkover for him given the level of sympathy he has since attracted from his Kilifi political base.

That Mung’aro is close to president Uhuru Kenyatta is an open secret. It started in the 1990s when the president was the chairman of the Kenya Tourism Board and Mung’aro, then Malindi mayor. President has even visited Mung’aro’s home several times.

But these details are said to have been with Raila even before Mung’aro was proposed for the minority whip position and it became as a surprise to many Coastal political watchers when his removal was pegged on an accusation that he was too close to Jubilee and State House.