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Joho, Kingi intensify battle for control of Coast region ahead of 2022 poll

POLITICS
By Benard Sanga and Patrick Beja | April 5th 2021

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho (pictured) was yesterday holed up in a meeting with some Coast MPs, days after Kilifi’s Amason Kingi met the leaders of fringe political parties in the region.

In yet another sign that the two governors have ratcheted up their battle for the control of the region, reports indicate that Joho held an exclusive meeting with some leaders from Kilifi. 

When contracted for comment, Joho’s orderlies and close political allies feigned ignorance of the meeting in Nyali that began some minutes past 11am and ended at about 4.15pm. Joho was later in the evening seen playing golf at Nyali Golf and Country Club.

“We are headed to Nyali for the meeting,” said an MP who sought anonymity. In the afternoon the MP did not pick our calls.

On Thursday, Kingi met the leadership of Kadu Asili, Shirikisho Party of Kenya, Umoja Summit Party of Kenya and Republican Congress of Kenya to push for the formation of the coalition.

Meetings’ agenda

Yesterday Kingi and Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya did not pick our calls or reply to the texts we sent to them to inquire about the agenda of their meetings.

“It is a very bad political strategy to keep your supporters guessing. The good strategy is to tell them something, even if it is little,” said lawyer Abubakar Yusuf.

The leadership of the four parties confirmed, after the meeting on Thursday, that they were fine-tuning a coalition agreement before it is tabled for adoption in a meeting scheduled for this week.

Kadu Asili Secretary General Jimmy Ngala and Chairman Joshua Kombora said the four parties had the blessings of Kingi to speed up the process to establish a coalition.

Joho, Kingi and Mvurya have been tight lipped over their political plans since they met President Uhuru Kenyatta on March 24 at State House, Nairobi.

Six days later, Joho and Kingi were again hosted by Mvurya in Kwale. After the meetings the three governors did not answer calls on their mobile phones nor did they address the Press.

Last week, soon after the State House meeting, a close ally of Mvurya told residents of Miyani in Kasemeni Ward, Kinango Sub-county that Uhuru promised the governor a “very big post”.

Yesterday’s meeting follows a series of other forums that Joho and Kingi have held together or separately in what has left many guessing their political moves.

The March 30 meeting between the three, where Kwale’s Mvurya played host, was also seen as part of the President’s push for wider support of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) in the region.

Kingi has been pursuing formation of a coalition of Coast-based political parties against Joho and ODM leader Raila Odinga’s support, hence causing cracks in the opposition party in the region.

Joho has applied for the ODM party presidential ticket for 2022 instead of joining the Coast outfit and Kingi, his longtime ally.

Kingi is expected to call the Coast parties chiefs to a retreat this week to speed up plans to unveil the coalition by June.

Two months ago, Kingi called about 20 Coast elected leaders to a consultative meeting in Mombasa, but he could not agree with Joho on formation of a coast coalition.

Joho then held a major rally in Lamu while Kingi met MCAs in Kilifi on the same day as they exhibited possible ideological differences.

Coming together

Pwani University lecturer Hassan Mwakimako said the three governors could be coming together because the President wanted the BBI to get massive endorsement at the Coast.

“The bigger picture is that the President wants the BBI to pass and he has been lobbying the governors to back his agenda,” Prof Mwakimako said.

Another scholar, Prof Halim Shauri, echoed sentiments that the three governors are pursuing the BBI agenda since the President has a lot of interest after investing so much in it.

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