The race to succeed Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi is on with two MPs – Aisha Jumwa (Malindi) and Owen Baya (Kilifi North) throwing their hats in the ring.
The two legislators, who are allied to Deputy President William Ruto and Mr Kingi, are already engaged in open campaigns despite the next elections being four years away.
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Both are expected to seek endorsements from Mr Ruto and Kingi. The governor is said to favour Mr Baya.
Reports indicate that many Jubilee Party-leaning politicians at the coast are not amused by suggestions that the Deputy President considers Ms Jumwa his point person in the region.
Many believe there are more established politicians like former MP Gideon Mung'aro and Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya, and even Kingi himself.
But the rivalry between Jumwa and Baya has been playing out, with each going out of their way to win over the electorate by engaging in politics even outside their constituencies.
At a recent fundraiser presided over by Ruto, Jumwa let Baya know that the task ahead of him was difficult.
“Today I will not talk what I always talk… we are here to accomplish the dream of my brother’s (Baya) grandfather but I want to tell you that you have a hard task in 2022…,” Jumwa said.
Although the two MPs are implementing different development projects in their constituencies, they have not shied away from tackling thorny issues.
Jumwa is on record saying how she brought Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang to be the chief guest at an education day. The PS commissioned the construction of Kakuyuni Girls Secondary School.
The MP also bought a bus for Kakuyuni Boys Secondary School.
Last month, Jumwa was the guest of honour at the launch of a local women’s group that brought together women from Malindi, Magarini, Rabai, Kilifi North, Kilifi South, Ganze and Kaloleni.
“I want to congratulate the women and I will give them my full support in everything they need. They have told me their challenges and I have promised that I will register the group as a limited company for them to trade with the county government,” said the MP.
“I have talked to Governor Kingi about my being here at the launch and he asked me come and listen to them and promised to support them to get tenders from the county.”
Baya has also initiated several development projects, including the construction of Kiwandani Boys Secondary School in Kilifi and buying a bus for Marafiki Secondary School.
Last week, Ganze MP Teddy Mwambire accused him of poking his nose in matters surrounding the expansive Giriama ranch in Bamba.
This was after Baya wrote to the Director of Public Prosecutions calling for investigations into the ranch that was scheduled to be auctioned by the African Development Bank to recover a loan owed by the directors of a company.
But Baya said he had an interest in the matter because his grandfather was once a shareholder in the ranch.