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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 28 September 2014

NEW ENTRANTS IN NYALI POLITICS KEEP MP ON TOES



Nyali MP Hezron Awiti is under constant political pressure from his opponents who are determined to wrestle the seat from him come the next general elections.

In the last elections, Awiti made his maiden attempt on a Wiper ticket and fought a vigorous battle that saw him narrowly defeat Yassir Noor, the TNA candidate who received massive support from Mount Kenya voters in the constituency. The lowly rated Noor, surprised many when he emerged runners-up relegating the ODM candidate John Mcharo to third place inspite of the latter enjoying backing and influence of Mombasa governor Hassan Joho’s political network.

Awiti’s advantage then was that apart from the combined Luo and Kamba vote, he managed to win the confidence of other tribes in the area like the Mijikenda, Kuria and Luhya. It is not clear though whether he still has the backing of these voters even as more opposition to his leadership continues to rise.

Currently, the MP is experiencing sleepless nights after the emergence of a firebrand would be Nyali contender Said Abdalla aka Saido whose youthful supporters have embarked on discrediting and punching holes in Awiti’s development record and his leadership style in the constituency.

In the most recent incident, the MP’s bodyguards had to shoot in the air to disperse a rowdy crowd that heckled and threatened to lynch one of the legislator’s security men during a football tournament at Khadija Primary School in the constituency. The MP escaped unhurt but his car’s side mirror was damaged.

A few months earlier, Saido’s name also featured after the MP was heckled and jeered at during a high profile meeting attended by World Bank officials and Lands cabinet secretary Charity Ngilu at a primary school in the constituency.

Saido who is a cousin of governor Joho is however reportedly a down-to-earth person, a character that has apparently endeared him to many people across the board. Inspite of his raised social status, he has continued to live in humble circumstances including maintaning a presence in Kongowea, his birth place. It is being pointed out that he is using his network in the county government to assist many youth access employment at Kenya Ports Authority and other firms in the county.

And on his part, Awiti who was a bitter critic of Governor Joho from the time of his election has since a few months ago toned down and is variously seen in the county chief’s functions. Additionally, Awiti has amended his relationship with Cord leader Raila Odinga with whom he briefly fell out with during the last general elections. He at the time blamed Raila for looking the other way as Joho and company tormented him politically.

It is claimed Raila had been pushed to prevail on Awiti to drop his Nyali bid in favour of the ODM candidate but the MP refused and decamped to Wiper at the eleventh hour and won the seat. When this happened, Raila was advised to accomodate him since he was still one of his own.

Back to the preparation for 2017, it is said the emergence of Saido, a relative and close associate of the port city governor was likely to hurt Mcharo’s comeback plans. To show that Mcharo, a former Mombasa deputy mayor may no longer be useful to the governor’s future political strategy, he has not been appointed to any position in the county government for rehabilitation purposes. He is wasting away and may soon be forgotten.

For Noor, even though he performed impressively as a result of a Kikuyu bloc vote, the same cannot be guaranteed in the next general elections as circumstances are bound to have dramatically changed then. His main undoing is that after the elections, he has reportedly disappeared from the scene and only surfaces when President Uhuru Kenyatta tours Mombasa.

Observers are watching with keen interest to see the kind of battle that will be witnessed between Awiti and Saido as the country progresses towards 2017. Other sources however point out that Awiti may be scheming for a different political office in the next elections.