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Coast-based party now set for launch

From left: Coast governors Hassan Ali Joho (Mombasa), Amason Kingi (Kilifi) and Mvurya Salim Mgalla (Kwale) after a meeting yesterday. [Courtesy, Standard]

A week after they had a session with President Uhuru Kenyatta, Coast governors yesterday held a meeting heightening the talks of formation of a regional party.

Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya hosted governors Amason Kingi of Kilifi and Hassan Joho of Mombasa at his office as it emerged that Kingi was ready to launch his party.

The three governors held a meeting with President Kenyatta last Wednesday at State House in Nairobi, where insiders say the president was keen to have them work together under a regional party.

According to MPs from the region, this is a strategy by President Kenyatta to block Deputy President William Ruto from the region.

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Raila Odinga is likely to be a big casualty of Uhuru’s move to encourage the region to have an outfit representing them in national politics.

And yesterday, the meeting with the governors heightened talks, with Kilifi governor expected to launch his revamped Kadu Asili party over the weekend.

“We met as leaders from the neighbouring counties and as leaders with a common interest of uplifting the lives of our people.

“This should not be looked at through political lens,” said Kingi. 

During the tour of the Coast region to market the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), Raila was told by Kingi that their time to form the regional party was long overdue.

He added that they would go ahead with the outfit that would carry the aspirations of the six counties.

Raila has discouraged the region from going the regional party route, claiming that the idea was outdated and those pushing for it were falling into the trap of tribalism.

The meeting yesterday, a source said, was part of trying to bring the leaders together as it emerged that Joho was still pushing for ODM’s dominance while Mvurya, who is a confidant of DP, has been cagey on his next political move.

Nyali MP Mohamed Ali said the meeting by the three governors was not a representation of the region but their attempts to secure their future as their terms come to an end.

Raila enjoyed huge support from the region in the 2007 to 2013 general elections and the latest development could distabilise his base.

Sources said the three governors discussed how they would push for the support of BBI, the possibility of Coast forming a party or coalition and how to promote the Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani (JKP) economic bloc.

Joho said: “Earlier this morning, together with my brother Amason Kingi, we paid a courtesy call on Salim Mvurya at his offices in Kwale.”

Governor Kingi said: “With my brothers Hon Ali Hassan Joho and Governor Salim Mvurya in Kwale County today.”

“The bigger picture is that the president wants the BBI to pass and he has been lobbying the governors to back his agenda,” said Pwani University lecturer Hassan Mwakimako.

He, however, added that the governors could have talked about the controversial plan to form a Coast political party or coalition since the BBI emphasises on the need for representation.

“The BBI is also about representation and I hope this was on the list of the governors agenda for the meeting,” he added.

Prof Halim Shauri also said the three governors must be pursuing the BBI agenda since the president has a lot of interest in the initiative investing so much in it.

“The president must have asked the governors to prepare for the BBI and ensure it receives massive support in the Coast region.

“This is because he has invested a lot in it and will leave no stone unturned,” Prof Shauri said.

The three governors have kept their political cards close to their chests since they met President Kenyatta in Nairobi.

Their aides said yesterday they stayed out of the meeting whose agenda was yet to be disclosed.

Daniel Nyassy, the Kwale County director of communications said he was not in the meeting yesterday.

Mark Agutu, the Kilifi communications director also said he was not privy to the issues raised in the meeting and that the agenda has not been made public.

Uhuru’s hosting of the governors, according to one of the county bosses who was in the meeting, was to have them fast-track formation of the regional party that would work closely with One Kenya Alliance.

The One Kenya Alliance brings together party leaders Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Musalia Mudavadi (Amani National Congress), Baringo Senator Gideon Moi of Kanu and Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya).

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