Malindi seat new frontier for Uhuru, Raila

The political rivalry between CORD and Jubilee is expected to go a notch higher as the coalitions go head-to-head in the Malindi by-election.

Though the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has not officially declared the campaign period for the March 7 mini polls, the leaders of the two coalitions are already on the ground drumming up support for their candidates.

When he visited Kilifi County early last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta campaigned for Jubilee candidate Philip Charo, forcing area Governor Amason Kingi to walk out of the President’s entourage, claiming the Head of State’s tour had been turned into a campaign for his coalition. A day after the President’s departure, Mr Kingi accompanied by Mombasa County Woman Representative Mishi Mboko and her Kilifi counterpart Aisha Jumwa visited Lango Baya primary school to counter the President’s message.

On Saturday Kingi and his Mombasa counterpart Hassan Joho were in Tezo village attending a funeral where they blasted Uhuru’s month-long tour of Coast, describing it as wasteful and full of propaganda.

They dismissed the President’s land reform policies for Coast. They urged the estimated 54,811 voters to reject Jubilee’s candidate in the by-election.

Smaller parties

The two leaders campaigned for ODM’s Willy Baraka. In Mombasa the interim Jubilee Party officials led by Philip Ndolo, the region’s interim secretary, Sunday announced its campaign programme for the by-election. Kilifi North MP Gideon Mung’aro and controversial politician Suleiman Shahbal will lead the Jubilee side.

Sunday smaller parties also joined the fray, urging voters to ignore CORD and Jubilee. Peter Ponda of Chama Cha Mzalendo met voters at a restaurant in Malindi town and urged them to reject the bigger parties saying they were trying to buy voters.

Mr Ponda told the residents not to vote for Jubilee just because former Malindi MP Dan Kazungu of ODM was named to the Cabinet. And Sunday Charo told voters at a football function attended by former presidential candidate Abduba Dida to elect him “without looking at party affiliations” and also criticised Kingi for his criticism of Uhuru’s street lighting programme.

At Tezo on Saturday, Kingi and Joho accused the President and ODM MPs who accompanied the Head of State last week of orchestrating propaganda to win the Malindi seat. They accused the President of fostering a belief that opposition areas are not entitled to development projects from the national government.

They also said Uhuru’s prescription for the land problem in Coast does not address the core of the problem and also alleged that some leaders who accompanied the President practised hateful and divisive politics.

“The problems facing Coast region including the thorny issue of squatters are historical problems that need special attention by the national government to allocate the people land and issue them with title deeds and not cheap politics like the one being done by the leadership of the Jubilee administration,” said Kingi, who urged local residents to reject the President’s overtures on land.

The governors spoke at the burial of the late Tsuma Rimba at Kaereni village in Tezo. He accused rebel ODM MPs who accompanied the President of selling their souls and receiving money for personal benefit.