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Win for ODM as Coast politicians ditch Ruto camp

ODM leader Raila Odinga (right) with Taita Taveta Governor Granton Samboja during the commissioning of Nyangoro-Maktau water supply project in Mwatate sub-county, Taita Taveta of Friday. [Renson Mnyamwezi, Standard]

A political wave created by United Democratic Alliance (UDA) and Pamoja Africa Alliance (PAA) at the Coast has petered out as leading politicians troop back to the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).

Some of the leaders who for the last three years had vowed to back Deputy President William Ruto’s presidential have backtracked and disowned him.

Political analyst Hassan Mwakimako believes UDA and PAA wave was fizzling out at the Coast because its leaders have failed to articulate local issues affecting voters.

The Pwani University don described the new political re-alignments as survival tactics by politicians “who have realised that the outfits they belong to cannot sell in the Coast.”

“Some leaders in UDA and PAA are good in populist remarks that excite the masses for a few days. 

“They must start to address unique issues in each region,” he said.

In May last year, Prof Mwakimako was among the Coast professionals who developed an 18-point economic blueprint that was handed to UDA leadership.

“UDA will move around for the second time. We have insisted that the DP should start addressing issues captured in the blueprint because each region has unique challenges,” he said.

Yesterday, Kaloleni MP Paul Katana, who is the latest Coast leader to abandon the DP’s bandwagon, said: “I’ve listened to my people and ODM is the party to beat at the Coast.”

Politics and development

“I never said that I will leave my party. I’m an ODM member and I will defend my seat on the party’s ticket in August. Separate political from development meetings,” said Katana.

On Friday, Katana accompanied ODM leader Raila Odinga during his Taita Taveta tour.

And yesterday, he appeared to blame unknown forces of “putting words in my month” over claims that he would support Ruto or shift allegiance from ODM to UDA.

“I have never said I have abandoned ODM. It is people who have been saying so out there,” said Katana, who has on many occasions been captured on camera declaring his support for the DP.

In Kilifi County, some leaders who had also vowed to ditch ODM and defend their seats on the new political outfit, are eating their words and renewing ties with the Orange party.

On Friday, Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi said PAA would back Raila’s presidential bid in the August 9 polls. He said the new political outfit is for the future.

Rabai MP William Kamoti, an ally of Kingi who had initially supported PAA, also accompanied Raila to Taita Taveta County. Taveta MP Naomi Shaban has also ditched UDA.

Dr Shaban and her Voi counterpart Jones Mlolwa had earlier thrown their weight behind Ruto but now have trooped back to the ODM fold.

Meanwhile, Taita Taveta Governor Granton Samboja and his deputy Majala Mlagui, who were allies of Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, have also thrown their weight behind Raila.

In Taita Taveta, UDA is left with former Governor John Mruttu and Woman Representative Lydia Haika to lead its campaigns.

The DP still enjoys the support of Kilifi North MP Owen Baya, Mohamed Ali (Nyali), Athuman Shariff (Lamu East), Aisha Jumwa (Malindi), Msambweni’s Feisal Badr, and Lamu Senator Anuar Loitiptip.

“It is time for Baba, and anybody who thinks otherwise is mistaken and misguided. We are confident that Raila will be the fifth president of the Republic of Kenya,” said Shaban.