Crunch time for politicians eyeing comeback

Dan Kazungu, Kazungu Kambi and Gideon Mungaro. [File,Standard]

It is a moment of reckoning for several senior politicians from the Coast appointed to serve in either national or county governments after losing in the 2017 elections.

To return to competitive politics, the politicians must quit their plum positions by February 2022.

“We are waiting to see mass resignations by public officers by February next year when they formally join politics. Those confident of winning seats will have to beat the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission deadline to quit their positions,” said political analyst Maimuna Mwidau yesterday.

In Mombasa County, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, who served as Mvita MP until 2013, has not indicated whether or not he will go for any political seat. However, the influential CS, who in 2013 lost his bid for the Senate seat, cannot be written off yet as he could be calculating his next political move.

His close political allies, Ibrahim Khamis Babangida and Ben Furaha, have founded the Pamoja African Alliance (PAA) as national chairman and secretary-general, respectively. 

The new outfit is associated with Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi, who has had political differences with ODM leader Raila Odinga.

Balala, who was once one of the ODM luminaries, folded up his Republican Congress Party after being appointed CS in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government.

CS Najib Balala. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

In Kilifi County, Devolution Chief Administrative Secretary Gideon Mung’aro and Kenya’s High Commissioner to Tanzania Dan Kazungu have declared interest in the governor’s seat and are expected to quit their positions. Last month, Mung’aro warmed up to Raila when the ODM leader visited the county, a clear indication yet that he may replace Governor Kingi as ODM point man.

Mung’aro, who previously served as Malindi MP and later Kilifi North legislator, contested the governorship in 2017 on a Jubilee Party ticket and came second after Kingi.

Kazungu, who served as Malindi MP and later Mining CS, has already revived his political network in Kilifi, although he has not launched a campaign.

It is not clear whether former Labour CS and former Kaloleni MP Kazungu Kambi would give the governorship race another stab after he failed to win on a Kadu Asili ticket.

If Kambi has to return to politics, he will have to resign from his current job as commissioner with the National Land Commission, which he landed only about two years ago.

In Tana River County, Interior CAS Hussein Dado has already declared that he will fight to recapture the governor seat he lost to Dhadho Dodhana in the last elections.

On Sunday last week, Dado told his supporters he had recovered from the effects of an accident he was involved in June this year and was fit to run for governor.

Interior CAS Hussein Dado. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

“Because of the gossip, I decided to make an impromptu visit and tell my people that I am fit and prepared to run for governorship,” Dado said.

In Kwale County, governor aspirant and Kenya Ports Authority employee Lung’anzi Chai said yesterday he would quit to venture into full-time politics.

Also expected to leave their current employment for Kwale governor race are Agriculture Research Principal Secretary Hamid Boga and his Tourism counterpart Safina Kwekwe, who has been touted as his possible running mate.

The two have kicked off a wave after coining a slogan “BogaSafi” to use in the campaigns although they have not settled on a party.

Hassan Rajab Sumba, Director of Trade and Tourism at the Kilifi County government, said yesterday he had decided to quit his job in or before February to run for the Mvita parliamentary seat in Mombasa County.

“I have decided to leave my employment for the seat. I have done my groundwork,” said Sumba.