Coast party seeks to wrestle major outfits, offer refuge to rebels

Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa. [Photo, Standard]

Mixed reactions have greeted the recommendation of the ODM National Executive Committee (NEC) to expel Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa and her Msambweni counterpart Suleiman Dori.

This has rekindled talk for a Coast outfit, with Umoja Summit Party of Kenya (USP) positioning itself as the party of choice.

Observers say only the intervention of ODM leader Raila Odinga will save Ms Jumwa and Mr Dori from being kicked out of the party.

“The ODM disciplinary committee seems to have not been properly constituted and the whole process is not so good in a multiparty democracy and in the spirit of the handshake. ODM should accommodate divergent views. Jumwa has also apologised and that should be put into consideration,” said political analyst Maimuna Mwidau.

Has not changed

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Ms Mwidau argued that the two MPs could be expelled once the ODM National Governing Council (NGC) ratifies the same since the Coast political landscape has not changed much after the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila.

She noted that Deputy President William Ruto may not go against the President and the opposition leader and hence the MPs risk being thrown into the political cold.

“There is danger of swift removal of the two legislators especially because the political landscape has not changed much at the Coast. They may exit the political scene like Mr Gideon Mung’aro (former Kilifi North MP) and Ms Zainab Chidzuga (former Kwale Women MP),” she said.

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He noted that allegations that Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho could be behind the woes facing Jumwa and Mr Dori are far fetched but this may be misconstrued to be true if he fails to come clean on the matter.

Yesterday, Mombasa county communications director Richard Chacha said the governor does not want to be dragged into the controversy as he was not party to the decision to expel the two Coast legislators.

“Governor Joho does not want to be dragged into this issue. It was a party issue; the party has its organs which competently handles arising disciplinary issues,” he said. 

The Orange party NEC on Thursday resolved to kick out the two, although the decision awaits ratification by the NGC.

During the meeting chaired by deputy party leader and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, members faulted the two MPs for backing the DP’s presidential bid.

Jumwa, who has been defiant appeared remorseful after the NEC decision when she asked the party to forgive them “in the spirit of the handshake.” She thanked Raila for giving them a chance to defend themselves before the party organ.

“In the spirit of the handshake, is there anything that cannot be forgiven? Everything is now water under the bridge,” she told reporters after walking out of the grilling.

Identified to take over

In Malindi constituency, a team has already proposed maritime consultant Stanley Chai as a possible replacement for Jumwa while former Diani/Gombato MCA Omar Boga has been identified to take over Dori’s seat.

The two aspirants have already been presented to Raila.

Pwani University lecturer Prof Halim Shauri welcomed the NEC decision saying this would reign in rogue politicians and instill discipline into political parties.

“Institutions have rules that guide them and there is nothing wrong in disciplining members. That is exactly what happened to Jumwa and Dori which should serve as a lesson. I appeal to the NGC to ratify the decision. The two have the option of going to court,” Shauri argued.

Meanwhile, USP interim secretary general Naomi Cidi said the party seeks to participate in the 2022 polls directly or through partnership with other political outfits.

Ms Cidi assured that the outfit will carry the aspirations and vision of residents and ensure Coast votes as a bloc unlike in the past. She said they secured the provisional registration certificate recently and leaders will meet on February 10 to chat the way forward and pick party officials.

Part of USP’s plan is to come up with a proposal detailing the “pwani agenda” and also negotiate with other Coast-based political parties in a bid to merge and form a formidable political vehicle that would appeal to the people.

“We have decided to form the Umoja Summit to bring our people together and ensure we have a formidable political party like other regions such as Nyanza. We are hopeful other Coast-based political parties will merge to form one strong party” she argued.

The USP is seen as an alternative for some politicians who feel they cannot be accommodated in existing parties, according to proponents in the region.

The other political parties with roots at the Coast are Kadu-Asili, Shirikisho Party of Kenya, Devolution Party of Kenya and Chama Cha Uzalendo. The leaders have in the past declined proposals to merge.

Yesterday, Kadu Asili national chairman Kombora Korokoro supported efforts to unite the Coast region but warned against the rushed merger of parties.

“USP is still operating with a provisional registration certificate and cannot negotiate with us for a possible merger. We were registered long time ago and we cannot accept to fold up because of an interim party,” he said.

Formation of the new party followed a recommendation by the Umoja Summit’s council of elders who include Mombasa ACK retired Bishop Julius Kalu, former Cabinet Minister Suleiman Shakombo, Kilifi Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organisation chair Ms Witness Tsuma.

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National Executive CommitteeNational Governing CouncilDeputy President William RutoRailaMalindi MP Aisha JumwaSuleiman Dori