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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 14 December 2014

COAST CORD REBELS HARDEN POSITION AS RAILA SOFTENS

After threats of expulsion failed to make any impact on the Cord Coast political belligerents and rebels, the party leader Raila Odinga is reportedly desperate to mend fences. The fear is that the rebels are giving a foothold to Jubilee politicians to penetrate the region which in the last elections overwhelmingly voted for opposition.
Among the people Raila is desperate to bring back to the fold is Kilifi North MP Gideon Mung’aro who has become more independent and vocal since being sacked as the minority chief whip. Close associates of Mung’aro claim that the Cord leader has been telephoning him countless times requesting for a meeting to persuade him to continue supporting the opposition.
However, advisers of Mung’aro say their man has no problem with the Cord leader as long as he will be able to reinstate him as the minority whip in the house, a position that has already been given to Wundanyi MP Thomas Mwadeghu. Observers say that taking the seat back from Mwadeghu will split the party even further and expose it to its opponents.
Those who know Mung’aro well say that he has already decided to pursue his political ambitions outside ODM and Cord. Early in the year, there were hints from his political camp that among the strategies he was pursuing is the formation of a strong homegrown political party to act as a unifying factor for the Coastal region. However, he has since shelved the idea for a while after it was politicised and fought by his Coast opponents led by Mombasa governor Hassan Joho.
A fortnight ago, Joho criticised Deputy President William Ruto for making frequent visits to Coast, claiming the DP’s forays were driving a wedge among Coastal leaders.  Ruto was in Kilifi county recently hosted by Mung’aro for a fundraiser and opening of two police posts.
Ruto has in the recent past made several tours in Coastal counties to hold fundraisers. Inside sources within the DP’s political camp claim Ruto is building his own political base as he does not want to be caught ‘unprepared’ in case of shifting political alliances in 2017.
Within Coast, Ruto already has dependable allies who include Cord MPs Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga), Zainab Chidzuga (Kwale women rep), Suleiman Dori (Msambweni), Masoud Mwahima (Likoni), Mustafa Iddi (Kilifi South), Aisha Jumwa (Kilifi women rep) Dan Kazungu (Malindi) and now Mung’aro (Kilifi North).
The DP has also strengthened his Coastal political base through the state appointments he has influenced among them that of Labour cabinet secretary Kazungu Kambi.
It is against this background that Raila is uncomfortable seeing Ruto conquering Coast via his own political troops with whom he has fallen out. The former PM has reportedly requested Joho to reach out to the rebels and persuade them to return ‘home’.