What awaits Raila in his Coast tour

ODM leader Raila Odinga looks on as Mombasa politician Suleiman Shahbal addresses party delegates at Wildwaters in Mombasa. [Omondi Onyango,Standard]

ODM leader Raila Odinga is likely to come face-to-face with intra-Azimio la Umoja conflicts in Kilifi County and fierce fights over the party’s tickets in Mombasa during his four-day tour of the Coast.

Mr Raila who jetted into the country from Dubai yesterday will start his tour of the Coast today in what is seen as an effort to consolidate his support base in the region with 1.8 odd million votes. He arrives amid heightened political activities at the Coast where aspirants trouping to ODM have ignited fierce battles over the party’s nomination.

In Kilifi, ODM and Pamoja African Alliance (PAA), which are affiliated to Azimio, are also embroiled in a contest. PAA has said it will back Raila bid to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta but has also vowed to field candidates against ODM in the contest for other elective seats in the Coast.

Yesterday Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi said he will join Raila in his tour in Ganze and Kaloleni. ODM Kilifi branch chair who is also Ganze MP Mr Teddy Mwabire has asked him to keep-off. In Mombasa, Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir said leaders allied to Azimio la Umoja at the Coast should “look at the bigger picture” not to engage in supremacy wars during Raila’s tour.

Mr Nassir and banker Suleiman Shahbal have also ramped up attacks at each other as the deadline for the political parties’ nominations approaches. The two want succeed governor Hassan Joho and are battling for the ODM ticket.

One agenda

On Friday, Shahbal, Nyali MP Mohamed Ali and Mombasa Deputy Governor Dr William Kingi met at a function in Kongwowea where they criticised Nassir.

“Our supporters know that the Sunday rallies are events to sell Raila’s agenda in Coast to ensure that he wins in the August 9 polls. The big picture is to make sure he wins,” said Nassir yesterday.

ODM Mombasa chairman Mr Mohamed Khamisi ‘Dee’ warned that the party will take action against aspirants found inciting supporters to disrupt Raila’s agenda in Mombasa.

“The rallies in Mombasa will be about Raila’s agenda for the people of the Coast. Aspirants have been asked to talk to their supporters to desist from engaging in the shouting march,” he said.

Yesterday Khamisi held a meeting with aspirants and elected leaders to sensitise and implore them to stop any planned chaos during today’s main rally at Tononoka Ground in Mombasa. Mr Khamis said he was not aware if Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka who is also scheduled to hold his rally in Kisauni’s Junda area will attend the Azimio la Umoja rally in Tononoka. Jomvu MP Badi Twalib said all leaders backing Azimio la Umoja will facilitate Raila’s supporters to attend the Sunday rally at Tononoka.

“Our political enemy is Deputy President William Ruto. We should direct all out political arsenal at him not at each other. We will show Kenyans that Mombasa is an ODM zone,” he said.

Mombasa Senator Mohamed Faki also cautioned political aspirants in the ODM or Jubilee Party now to turn Raila’s rally into a “contest to show who has more supporters than the other.”