End of bromance as Kingi, Joho renew battle for Coast

Kilifi County Governor Amason Kingi when he received his Mombasa  Counterpart Hassan Joho at Malindi's Ocean Beach Resort in Kilifi County during Jumuiya Ya Kaunti Za Pwani Conference. [Maarufu Mohamed, Standard]

The 2018 truce between Mombasa Governor Mr Hassan Joho and Kilifi’s Mr Amason Kingi has expired. The two leaders have now hit the ground to campaign at the Coast for their preferred presidential candidates. Yesterday, Mr Joho accompanied ODM leaders to campaign for Azimio la Umoja in Malindi, in what was seen as a move to neutralise the influence of Kingi’s led Pamoja Africa Alliance (PAA) in the county.

Taveta MP Dr Naomi Shaban said the Azimio team had begun to solidify its support base in Kilifi and to “erode any little gain that PAA had made in recent years.”  

She said Kilifi was still an ODM zone, but PAA could create some dents in the August 9 elections because of Kingi’s influence. Dr Shaban said their strategy was to remind the people what Raila stands for.

In 2017, ODM won all elective posts in Kilifi County, winning the 35 ward rep, seven MPs, Senate, woman rep and governor seats. “We have moved to the ground to tell our people the truth. This is an orange zone but PAA could get some few seats because of Kingi’s influence,” said Dr Shaban in an interview yesterday.

On Wednesday, Mr Kingi said ODM leader Mr Raila Odinga had failed to use his influence in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s regime to end historical land injustices and reverse the transfer of port services from Mombasa to the dry ports in Nairobi and Naivasha.

He criticised Mr Joho for accepting Mr Odinga’s offer of Lands Cabinet Secretary position. “We have had ministers from Coast in charge of land in the past and have not be able to solve the problem. Joho has been set to fail if Raila wins in August,” said Mr Kingi.

Yesterday Mr Joho said Mr Kingi should not underrate his resolve to end the squatter problems at the Coast. “I’ve heard him (Kingi) say that our problem is not seats in the Cabinet and that in the past Coast has had ministers in charge of land and failed to address the problem. I want to tell you that those ministers were not Hassan Ali Joho,” he said in Malindi yesterday.

He added: “I do not fear anyone. I promise that the day I’ll take over the ministry, all that never happened at the Coast will start to happen the same day. Ruto called me an academic dwarf when I opposed the SGR policies... Those who have joined Ruto have done so for selfish gains.”

ODM nominee for the governor seat Mr Gideon Mung’aro said PAA would not get even half of the 50 per cent votes Mr Kingi promised UDA leader Dr William Ruto. “We know he has been tasked to deliver 50 per cent of votes in Kilifi so that he can get the post of the Senate Speaker. I assure you that our team will deliver over 70 per cent,” said Mr Mung’aro.

Mr Munga’ro said through his social media platform yesterday that the battle for the Kilifi Governor seat was between “those who want change and forces keen to maintain status quo.”

“My two opponents are close friends with the outgoing governor. The reason why they have teamed up against me is because they are Kingi’s projects,” said Mr Mung’aro.

In Kenya Kwanza, Malindi MP Ms Aisha Jumwa has been nominated for Kilifi Governor race on the UDA ticket and PAA has lawyer Mr George Kithi.

Mr Kingi has continued to sell Kenya Kwanza alliance’s nine-point agenda at the Coast. Top on the list of the agenda captured in the agreement is Dr Ruto’s resolve to “reverse all operational changes that have been carried out in the recent past whose effects has been to relocate some of the core activities of Kenya’s main sea port from Mombasa to inland depots in Nairobi and Naivasha.”

This Kenya Kwanza hopes to achieve within a year of its being in power. On the new Port of Lamu, Mr Kingi and Mr Ruto agreed that Kenya Kwanza government would put in place reforms to ensure the facility brings measurable employment and economic benefits to the local communities.

The two also agreed to revive cashew nuts, coconuts and Bixa industries, and review the Coast Guard Act to enhance protection of local communities’ fishing and other economic activities. “Involve local communities in the management and benefit-sharing of the resources associated with the Blue Economy,” states the pact deposited at the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP).

On the thorny issue of historical land injustices, Ruto has undertaken to reform relevant laws and set up a land compensation fund to assist locals acquire land from absentee landlords.