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Uhuru, Raila and Ruto in Coast amid battle for the region’s heart

By Bernard Sanga | January 5th 2019

Deputy President William Ruto, President Uhuru Kenyatta and AU Infrastructure envoy Raila Odinga in Karen on November 2, 2018. [Photo, File]

Opposition leader Raila Odinga jetted into Mombasa on Thursday from Namibia to be part of a ground breaking ceremony to be officiated by President Uhuru Kenyatta next week.

On Monday, Kenyatta and Raila are scheduled to preside over the ground breaking ceremony for the proposed Sh1 billion regeneration of Mama Ngina Drive into a waterfront and cultural district in Mombasa.

Yesterday, Maj (rtd) Idris Abdirahman who worked for the opposition leader between 2008 and 2013 said he (Raila) was also in Mombasa on holiday.

“Yes, I was among those who welcomed him at the Moi International Airport. He is here on holiday,” said Idris who is Mombasa Sub-county Coordinator.

On Thursday, as the former Prime Minister jetted in, the President toured Taita Taveta incognito but returned the same day. It was not clear whether the two met.

The Head of State inspected the Sh1.7 billion Bachuma Livestock Multiplication centre which is undergoing expansion by the national government.

Kenyatta arrived in Mombasa by SGR on Christmas eve with his family for the festive season.

The Monday event will be the President’s first public function in Mombasa since he arrived. Sources said Raila will be at the ceremony which will also be attended by Deputy President William Ruto as well as former First Lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta.

The former Prime Minister will be at the event in his official capacity as the Africa Union Commission Special Envoy for Infrastructure.

Analysts however say the function may be heavy on politics as it will be the first time Raila and Ruto will share a podium at the Coast in recent times.

Double Standards

“The project will be commissioned by the President on Monday. It is a big project being implemented by the ministry of tourism in phases,” said County Tourism Chief Officer Innocent Mugabe.

It is understood that Ruto, who was also away at his Sugoi Farm home over the Christmas break, will leave for Mombasa tomorrow.

ODM disciplinary committee has recommended the expulsion of Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa and his Msambweni counterpart Suleiman Dori for associating themselves with Ruto.

Ms Jumwa has sustained attacks against Raila accusing him of playing double standards saying whereas the former PM was cooperating with Jubilee in the name of national cohesion, he was punishing members who have joined Ruto in the spirit of the handshake.

The proposed regeneration of Mama Ngina drive, a key infrastructure projects under the Blue Economy, is financed by the Tourism Transformation Fund (TTF) which has already allocated as Sh600 million for the first phase of the project. TTF which was established under the 2016 Finance Act is mandated to provide resources for the development of the tourism sector.

Yesterday, reports also indicated that all Cabinet Secretaries were summoned by the President to Mombasa but State Spokesperson Kanze Dena said: “I’m not privy to that information.”

“I don’t know who is spreading the reports (about the Cabinet meeting). I’m not aware,” said Ms Dena in a phone interview.

ODM Head of Communication Philip Etale also dismissed claims that Raila was in Mombasa over alleged impending Cabinet reshuffle by the President.

“…for anyone to associate Raila Odinga with such decisions (Cabinet reshuffle) is just but becoming malicious. Raila does not run the government and if people want to settle their political scores by dragging him into their internal problems, then Kenyans can only be sorry with them,” said Mr Etale on his Facebook page.

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