Governor Kingi Coast party faces headwinds as launching planned

Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi at a past function in Mtwapa, Kilifi County. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

A political outfit unveiled at the Coast in September last year is facing headwinds ahead of its planned launch before the end of this month.

Most MCAs at the Coast who trooped to the outfit, Pamoja Africa Alliance (PAA), linked to Governor Amason Kingi, have backtracked.

Meanwhile, offices of the party that opened in September last year are not operational with reports indicating that PAA was also facing financial challenges.

The PAA offices opened at Mariakani, Ganze, Rabai and Malindi trading centres are not operational but the Kilifi and Mombasa offices are.

Yesterday, PAA chair Ibrahim Khamis downplayed the defections and claims it had lost steam.

He said plans are afoot for PAA official launch this month.

“The so called defectors are those who thought the party will give them direct nominations. But we have stood our ground that we must have free and fair nominations,” said Khamis.

He said people in Coast have shown interest to vie on the PAA ticket.

“All are welcome because the nominations will be free and fair,” he said.

Ganze Ward MCA Benson Chengo said that many of the ward reps were coerced to support PAA but have gone back to the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).

He claimed the party had failed gain traction due to its failure to come up with a unifying agenda or to articulate issues affecting the Coast people.

“Strong-arm tactics were employed to force Kilifi MCAs to support PAA. There were threats from certain quarters to freeze funding for development projects so MCAs had to join PAA,” he said.

Chengo said the party had failed to woo MPs or aspirants who can mount a strong challenge against ODM in the August polls.  

“I had to follow what my voters want and they want ODM. So I have resolved to join ODM which I will use to defend my seat,” said Chengo, who was elected on a KADU-Asili ticket. 

Other than local politics, PAA appears to have also encountered the ODM wave following Raila Odinga’s frequent tours of the Coast region.

Raila has met ODM leaders and aspirants to assure them of free and fair nominations. On Friday, he met ODM aspirants from Kwale and Kilifi.

Bamba Ward MCA Christopher Mwambire said PAA had failed to penetrate the Coast, which is perceived to be an ODM stronghold, because it had been marketed as a property of an individual.

“PAA must fight to end the perception that it was the property of an individual or Governor Kingi. The party must be owned by the masses but at the moment it won’t make a difference,” he said.

“I’m in ODM to stay because the voters want me to remain in the party. I have done my homework and discovered that PAA is a hard sell so I had to go back to ODM.”

Ganze MP Teddy Mwambire who is also Kilifi ODM chair said PAA had failed to make any meaningful impact on Coast politics because it was an outfit to fight Kilifi leaders.

“A party’s popularity is measured by the number of aspirants seeking its ticket but PAA has no candidates in Kilifi and only ODM has,” he said. “After they got the certificate, the PAA leadership concentrated on Kilifi aloneg instead of selling the party outside the county.”