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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 21 September 2014

MUNG'ARO FACTOR IN COAST POLITICS COMPLICATES CORD EQUATION

The Coast Parliamentary Group chairman and Kilifi North MP Gideon Mung’aro is increasingly becoming a thorn in the flesh of Cord leader Raila Odinga in his quest to control and dominate the region’s politics ahead of the 2017 general elections.
The region which was hitherto a Cord zone during the last general elections as demonstrated by the voting pattern has abruptly seen rebellion building up against the opposition and there is no longer guarantee that Raila would continue calling shots in the six coastal counties in the foreseeable future.
Even though signs of the fallout began emerging almost immediately after the last general elections, the relationship between Raila and the region’s political leaders reached its lowest point when a decision was made to kick out Mung’aro from the minority whip’s position over his alleged close ties with Jubilee top leadership. Mung’aro apparently, had cultivated a powerful and close knit working relationship with most of the region’s MPs and his removal has since left a trail of damage on Cord’s standing in the region.
A divide and rule tactic employed by Cord top brass to stem the fallout by appointing Mung’aro’s replacement from within Coast in the name of Thomas Mwadeghu, MP Wundanyi has apparently failed to assuage  and tame the growing anger among the Coastal Mijikenda communities against Raila and the Cord fraternity.
 Indeed, Raila recently came face to face with the reality on the ground when he took his referendum signature collection exercise to Taita Taveta county.
Only a handful of Taita Taveta residents attended his rallies in the county and it is said a desperate Raila had to force the area governor John Mruttu to sign the referendum forms. Mwadeghu, the Wundanyi MP who replaced Mung’aro as the parliamentary minority whip is a low key politician in Coast politics. His influence is allegedly not felt beyond his constituency boundaries, it is being pointed out.
It is said Kilifi and Kwale counties have literally gone to Jubilee and the fortunes for Raila and Cord have dramatically nosedived. The entire Kwale leadership including the area governor Salim Mvurya has been hosted in State House and the tone and mood since then has been that the leaders will co-operate with Jubilee administration for the sake of “development” of their people.
The Kwale Cord leaders who were hosted by President Uhuru at State House, Nairobi, included Boy Juma Boy (Kwale senator), Salim Mvurya (Governor), MPs Hassan Mwanyoha (Matuga), Suleiman Dori (Msambweni), Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga), Gonzi Rai (Kinango, TNA) and Zainabu Chidzuga (women representative).
Recently, the Kwale leaders congregated at a meeting in Msambweni constituency where they were joined by Mung’aro in which they directly took Raila head-on, accusing him of dictatorship and exhibiting poor leadership in the party. They told Raila off over his calls on them to resign and seek fresh mandate from the electorate, saying ODM and Cord can only flourish if Raila is kicked out of the orange party.
“Who is he to continue singing that we have to leave ODM. We are elected leaders and he is not, so he ought to respect us. We have tolerated him enough and we will not be intimidated. Let him keep off Coast issues,” Chidzuga, the Kwale women representative fumed.
Mung’aro said he is not afraid of going back to the ballot box as he is confident of his political base. However, he said it is not Raila to say it. He wondered why if it is Raila talking to President Kenyatta, it is referred to as either consultation or dialogue but when Coast MPs meet the president, it is referred to as rebellion.
“The other day, we heard Raila saying that before he left for America, he telephoned the president to tell him that he would be away for sometime. In recent times, we have seen him meeting with the president in many functions and why doesn’t he run away to avoid shaking his hand if he really is a bad man whom Coast people should not associate with? He even refers to the head of state as “my brother”. Now what is wrong if Coast leaders also meet the president of Kenya to discuss development and security issues,” Mung’aro wondered.
Mwashetani, the Lunga Lunga MP warned that today’s Coast leaders are more enlightened and will not allow themselves to be subjugated by leaders from other areas whose agenda is to dominate the region for selfish ends.
“I want to sound a warning that we will not allow anyone to intimidate us for we are not robots. Let the Cord top brass brace for a vicious battle never witnessed before. They should keep off with their dictatorship,” Mwashetani warned.
It is said Mombasa governor Hassan Joho, who has been angered by the MPs’ utterances against Raila is pushing to have the MPs’ seats declared vacant “so that he can teach the Kwale renegades a political lesson”.
“Governor Joho is pained to see some of the people he helped to climb the political ladder turning against the party. He wants their seats declared vacant in line with the Political Parties Act to deal them a devastating political blow. He will sponsor other candidates to defeat them,” sources pointed out.
But Mung’aro, it is said, is also crafting a strategy to bring Joho’s downfall. The strategy includes his direct involvement in Mombasa politics. He wants to take advantage of the heavy presence of Mijikenda votes in the county to groom a future governor. The Mijikenda votes dominate four of the six Mombasa constituencies. Among the constituencies with a heavy presence of Mijikenda voters are Kisauni, Nyali, Jomvu and Likoni. Changamwe and Mvita are unpredictable, it is observed.
Mung’aro also intends to take over as Kilifi governor in the next general elections to defeat Amason Kingi who is a Joho’s protege. Supporters of Mung’aro across the board are urging him on to take over Coast leadership and bestrode the political landscape like a colossus.