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Fresh talks to unite parties in Coast after a false start

By Patrick Beja | April 16th 2021
Coast governors, From Left; Hassan Ali Joho (Mombasa), Amason Kingi Jeffah (Kilifi) and Mvurya Salim Mgalla (Kwale) in Kwale on March 30, 2021. [File, Standard]

Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya has revived talks to unite Coast-based political parties, days after similar efforts by his Kilifi counterpart Amason Kingi hit a snag.

Yesterday, Mvurya hosted leaders of Kadu-Asili, the biggest party in the Coast, and asked them to sustain the unity talks.

He is scheduled to meet representatives of other parties this weekend.

It has now emerged that Mvurya’s approach is different from the one adopted by Kingi.

The Kwale governor wants leadership of the fringe parties to support one candidate in each of the 26 constituencies within the Coast region in 2022 polls.

Kingi appeared to falter when he suggested a merger of all the parties.

Leaders of Shirikisho Party of Kenya (SPK), Kadu-Asili, Republican Congress Party of Kenya and Umoja Summit Party of Kenya (USPK) rejected Kingi’s merger plan, saying it will make them lose their identities.

According to Mvurya, the Coast region should be ring-fenced ahead of the 2022 polls so that its leaders can be in a better position to negotiate with parties from other regions.

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Coast governors, From Left; Hassan Ali Joho (Mombasa), Amason Kingi Jeffah (Kilifi) and Mvurya Salim Mgalla (Kwale) in Kwale on March 30, 2021. [File, Standard]

Mvurya is set to meet the leadership of SPK and USPK. He said the process of uniting the Coast region will be inclusive for all communities living in Coast.

He is pushing for the possibility of the three parties coming up with a formula where one of the political outfits could be used to ring-fence the Coast region and ensure it gets the support of all communities living in the region.

Mvurya, who was accompanied by County Secretary Martin Mwaro and Chief of Staff Rodgers Chimega, said a consensus could be easily reached if Coast residents could know if the unity talks were meant to benefit a few individuals or they were the collective good of residents.

“Every leader in Coast must ensure unity is achieved and everyone is brought on board,” Mvurya said, indicating his readiness to lead the talks.

He is expected to meet leaders from USPK and SPK in Kwale before calling a joint meeting of the three parties.

Mvurya advised the parties to adopt the spirit of giving and take in a bid to reach a consensus in the ongoing talks. The retreat in Kilifi last week ended with a resolution that the parties would pursue a coalition and not a merger as suggested by Kingi. The resolutions were forwarded to Kingi and he was expected to respond to the parties.

Two weeks ago, Mvurya hosted Kingi and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho in Kwale to discuss the unity of the region ahead of the 2022 elections.

Since January, the three governors have met five times and their talks have centred around the unity of the region.

Top politicians, including ODM leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto, have also been courting the region, hoping to get its support ahead of the next elections.

Yesterday, Kadu Asili chairman Joshua Kombora and Secretary-General Jimmy Ngala led the delegation to the meeting with Mvurya.

Umoja Summit Party of Kenya is led by its chairman Matano Chengo and Naomi Cidi, who has been the party’s spokesman.

Republican Congress Party, formerly led by Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, is now headed by Ibrahim Khamisi while Shirikisho Party is under the leadership of former Cabinet minister Morris Dzoro.

A source in the meeting said Mvurya was interested to see that the Coast region achieves a political arrangement through the parties which could ensure they get the support of the region’s 1.8 million voters in the next general election.

Ngala confirmed the meeting and said that Mvurya has expressed interest to meet representatives of all Coast-based parties soon and ensure the talks proceed.

“We have briefed Governor Mvurya on our resolution as parties to have a coalition and not a merger. He has promised to have a meeting of all parties soon and get the way forward,” Ngala said.

Speaking after the meeting yesterday, Ngala and Kombora said the challenge was to form a coalition of the three parties and then get one of the outfits to field candidates in the Coast region based on an agreement with the other parties.

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