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I won't scuttle plans to establish Coast Party, says Madzayo

COAST
By Patrick Beja | March 28th 2021

Kilifi Senator Stewart Madzayo. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

As he settles in one of Parliament’s highest offices, Kilifi Senator Stewart Madzayo attributes his victory to goodwill from his ODM party and a determination to move up the political ladder.

The ODM senator replaced his Kakamega counterpart Cheophas Malala of Amani National Congress (ANC) as the deputy minority leader.

Malala was removed after 20 ODM senators signed a petition to replace him.

Wrong perception

In an interview yesterday, Madzayo dismissed the perception that his election to the key position is meant to scuttle a plan by some Coast leaders to form a coalition of political parties based in the region.

Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi has been pushing for the formation of a political coalition comprising Kadu Asili, Umoja Summit Party of Kenya, Shirikisho Party of Kenya and Republican Congress Party.

Mr Kingi has been clamouring for the coalition that he wanted to unveil by June, this year, despite opposition from ODM party leader Raila Odinga and his deputy and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho.

Deputy President William Ruto has also asked his Coast allies to abandon the plan to form a regional political party and offered Kilifi North MP Owen Baya the post of United Democratic Alliance (UDA) secretary general.

Yesterday, Madzayo, who is a close ally of governor Kingi and a Raila loyalist, said his new position does not stop anybody in the Coast region from forming a political party or coalition.

“It is sad that some people from the Coast are making the wrong interpretation about my elevation to this position. This is a national position that is occupied by one of their own and they ought to embrace it,” Madzayo said.

He said his position gives him a say on the business of Parliament and its policy making machinery and it is important to be held by someone from Coast which faces a myriad of challenges, including perennial land problems.

“It is important for the Coast to have someone in the leadership of Parliament. I am going to fight for my space. I am going to fight for more funds to go to the counties. I am also going to fight for land issues in Coast and in Kenya to be resolved,” Madzayo said.

He also said he will fight inequality in the distribution of wealth and push for the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) as part of the parliamentary leadership.

Madzayo, who was first elected to the Senate in 2013, claimed he fought for the Sh8.5 billion to be retained by the six coast counties of Mombasa, Kwale, Taita Taveta, Kilifi, Tana River and Lamu in the recent standoff over the county revenue sharing formula.

“Coast senators appointed me to lead in the struggle to ensure none of the counties lost a single penny in the county revenue sharing standoff and we delivered. We ensured Sh8.5 billion was not lost by the six counties,” he said.

Political career

Born in 1958, Madzayo ventured in politics in 2002 when he unsuccessfully contested the Bahari parliamentary seat (now Kilifi South) on a Ford People ticket.

He later served as chairman of the Agriculture Society of Kenya (ASK) Mombasa branch and rose to become national chairman of the society.

Former President Mwai Kibaki then appointed him to the position of judge of the industrial court where he served for about 10 years before being elected as the first Kilifi senator in 2013 on an ODM ticket. He retained the seat in 2017.

After his legal training, Madzayo worked in the office of the Attorney General as State counsel before he became corporate secretary and head of legal services at the defunct Kenya Posts and Telecommunications Corporation where he served for nine years.

While in private practice in Mombasa, Madzayo served as Law Society of Kenya (LSK) Coast branch chairman.

On the protest by One Kenya Alliance leaders over the removal of Malala, Madzayo claimed there was no bad blood between him and the leaders.

Madzayo claimed he has been a close friend of Malala, Bungoma senator and Ford Kenya party leader Moses Wetang’ula, Baringo Senator and Kanu party chairman Gideon Moi and Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka and his ANC party counterpart Musalia Mudavadi.

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