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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Coast 2017: Jubilee’s political nightmare

The popularity of Jubilee coalition in Coast region is still wanting two years to the next general elections due to what observers say is failure by the Uhuruto to come up with sustainable strategies to win over the region that overwhelmingly voted for Cord in the last general elections.
At the same time, mishandling of allies who created platforms for Uhuru and Ruto to successfully campaign in the region that was hitherto hostile has worsened matters and it will be an expensive affair to engage them again for the would be Uhuru Tena campaigns.
It is instructive to note that five out of the six Coast region governors were elected on Cord ticket. It is only Lamu governor Issa Timamy who made it narrowly on a UDF ticket. UDF party is equally not a member of Jubilee. Political observers aver that the opposition Cord was likely to repeat the same feat in the next polls with even higher margins given that the Muslims are moody towards the Jubilee administration over unsolved issues.
Political pundits think its laughable and out of lack of political foresight for Uhuru Kenyatta to  want to depend on Kilifi North MP Gedion Mung’aro to deliver Coast vote to him in 2017. Mung’aro they say, is a political lightweight in Coast politics whose influence is hardly beyond his own constituency.
When he was sacked from the position of minority whip, he attempted to fight Cord leader Raila Odinga but his fire quickly ran out and the Coast MPs he had assembled have since deserted him. He has gone back to class to acquire a degree to qualify him to contest for Kilifi governor but he can no longer be assured of clinching the seat on a Jap ticket.
Kilifi governor Amason Kingi, a lawyer by profession has since horned his political skills and come 2017 he will be no pushover. Attempts to have the governor arraigned in court over accusations of corruption have since backfired after the EAAC dismissed the allegations.
“The dozen Coast MPs Mung’aro had assembled to fight Raila found the going too difficult for them to sustain as voters were against them since they are not ready to leave Cord. Most of the voters in all the Coast counties know very well that were it not for Raila even the devolution and freedom we enjoy today would not be there, so the legislators were forced to go back to square one,” said Nicholas Zani, an ally of Cord leader Raila.
Zani added that Coast people were more determined than before to vote for the opposition as none of of their longstanding grievances had been adressed by the Jubilee. He said even the title deeds that were distributed in the region sometimes back by the president were found to be fake and cannot be accepted by the banks for a loan.
“Hawa jamaa hawamuwezi Raila hapa pwani kwa sababu mbaka sasa hakuna matunda yeyote watu wameona. Hata wale waliowatafutia kura hapa Pwani pia wametemwa ukiwakuta wanalia. Sasa uzuri wa Uhuruto uko wapi?”(These guys cannot defeat Raila here at the Coast because upto now, Coast people have nothing to be proud of. Surprisingly, even those who campaigned for them are crying of negligence. So what can you be proud of in Jubilee?).
Among notable personalities within the Mijikenda community who campaigned for Uhuruto but who are still languishing in the cold is former assistant minister Francis Baya, URP national elections board chairman Nyule Ngumbao, former Bahari MP Joe Khamisi among others.
Within the Swahili of Mombasa, the Coast TNA coordinator Farid Swaleh is being mentioned as an example of people Uhuru has neglected. It is claimed cabinet secretary Najib Balala who wants to remain the most senior Arab in government has blocked Farid’s elevation.
Balala’s political influence in Mombasa is no more and he cannot be counted on to deliver the Swahili vote, it is being pointed out. During his homecoming, after his appointment as Jubilee Alliance Party national chairman Nelson Dzuya who hails from Kilifi county chestthumped that the new party would take Coast by storm in the next general elections.
Dzuya’s statement was laughed off by Cord operatives including Governor Hassan Joho who however declined to answer the Jap chairman, saying that would amount to stooping too low.
Already, Jap is plagued by disagreements on leadership and conduct of the interim officials. Last week, TNA and URP officials in Mombasa were angered by a text message calling them for a Jap meeting which had a rider that each one of them should carry their own drinking water and that they should not expect handouts.
Some of the officials were overheard lamenting that the new Jap leadership was demeaning them. “Sisi ni watu na biashara zetu. Ni kukosa heshima kwa mtu kutuita kwa namna hii, kutuandikia ujumbe eti tubebane na maji kwenda mkutanoni, upuuzi gani huu,” Salim Abdalla from Mvita complained.