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Trouble at the Coast: Were top defectors short-changed by Jubilee?

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 President Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto and Hon. Hassan Omar

When several Coast leaders defected from NASA to join Jubilee last year before the repeat presidential election on October 26th, expectations were high that they would be rewarded with government appointments.

But after President Uhuru Kenyatta named nominees to the Cabinet, there are fears that the leaders were short-changed.

Former Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar who was a fierce critic of the Jubilee administration surprised many when he jumped ship after losing in the gubernatorial race on Wiper ticket. However, his name did not feature in the Cabinet list despite campaigning for Jubilee in a region that overwhelmingly voted for NASA.

But Nyali MP Mohamed Ali alias Jicho Pevu who is also an ally of former Senator Omar is optimistic that he (Omar) will be appointed to Cabinet.

“Omar is young and full of energy to bring development and clean up Mombasa which is currently dirty. He has a good track record particularly in human rights and can effectively address the land problems in the county,” said Mr Ali, who was elected on an independent ticket.

Former Taita Taveta Governor John Mruttu who was tasked with helping the ruling party make inroads in the region was also left out.

Suleiman Shahbal who defected from Wiper to Jubilee missed out in the government appointments despite having been the Jubilee point man at the Coast during the electioneering period.

An ally to Mr Shahbal and Mombasa Jubilee county chairman Matano Chengo said they had expected him to get a key position in government because he used his resources to fund the campaigns.

“We feel left out of government as a gateway county after the appointment of only Najib Balala. Shahbal and team used their personal resources to ensure President Uhuru got the 100,000 votes in the last elections,” he said. 

“We want more jobs particularly in diplomatic missions and parastatals. We must be recognised by Jubilee this time,” added Mr Chengo. 

He felt Coast got a raw deal in government appointments compared to Western.

However, notable leaders from the region who were rewarded by the President are former Mining Cabinet Secretary Dan Kazungu and former Kilifi North MP Gideon Mung’aro who were nominated as High Commissioner to Tanzania and Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Lands respectively.

Former Tana River Governor Hussein Dado who defected from Wiper to Jubilee was nominated as Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Devolution.

Kwale which largely voted for the Opposition got two Principal Secretary positions through Prof Hamadi Idd Boga and immediate former Kwale county executive committee member for Trade Safina Kwekwe Tsungu. 

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala was reappointed by the President.

Former Shirikisho Party of Kenya (SPK) national treasurer Mwakio Ndau feels the region got a raw deal, saying the defectors “are mourning more than anyone else because they were largely ignored.”

Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya who was elected for a second term on a Jubilee ticket after defecting from ODM, welcomed the appointment of Mr Balala, Mr Dado and Mr Mung’aro, Mr Mwakima, Mr Kazungu, Prof Boga and Ms Tsungu terming it a great honour to Coast residents. 

“These appointments have elicited joy among the people of Kwale County and the Coast region at large. This clearly demonstrates the confidence of the President and his Deputy in spurring the coastal development agenda. I thus want to urge the people of this region to remain steadfast in supporting the national government,” Mvurya said.

Immediate former Kwale Women Representative Zainab Chidzuga who defected from ODM said she was happy Coast region got a ‘good share’ of the top jobs but pleaded for more particularly the diplomatic positions. 

Ensure inclusion

“We got a number of top jobs and we hope to get more positions. We as women particularly welcome the appointment of Ms Kwekwe as Gender PS because this will ensure promotion of women projects in the region,” she said. 

Political analysts said that Coast residents are lucky to get jobs from Jubilee after overwhelmingly voting for NASA.

“Any positions from Jubilee are given to Coast as a mere gift and only to ensure inclusion because the region did not vote for the ruling party,” said University lecturer Prof Hassan Mwakimako.

Lawyer Yusuf Abubakar said: “We rejected Jubilee during the elections and we should count ourselves lucky to have been given some posts. Coast residents should carefully weigh competing political sides during elections if they want to be in government.”

 

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