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Blame games as talks to form Coast party collapse

Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi with his Mombasa counterpart Hassan Joho at Tononoka grounds at a past event. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

Renewed attempts to unify the Coast under a new political outfit ahead of the 2022 elections have hit a snag with Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi now blaming Coast MPs for the impasse.

For the first time, Kingi has signaled the possibility of the region going into the next polls more polarized saying his meetings with other Coast leaders have failed to yield any fruits.

Kingi spoke for the first time after months of speculation over his meetings with Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and Kwale’s Salim Mvurya. He said he is being frustrated by leaders he did not name.

Unity talks

“I have tried to bring Coast MPs for talks but some have been uneasy with the idea,” said Kingi, adding that the unity talks have been misconstrued to be his personal political agenda.

“Kindly let us understand that the push for Coast unity is not about Kingi. It is not my unity but a unity of the entire region,” said Kingi at a funeral in Mariakani.

He claimed that despite the fact that Coast MPs have over the years been mistreated in political parties from other regions, they have failed to learn that the solution is to have their own vehicle.

Yesterday, the MPs, through the Coast Parliamentary Group (CPG) Secretary, Teddy Mwambire who is also Ganze Mp said Kingi “should own up to his failures” and stop blaming them. “We raised critical questions during our meetings with him and he has failed to answer them. He should not address us from funerals after failing to unite even the seven MPs from Kilifi,” he said.

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Mwambire, who is an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) elected MP, said Coast leaders are yet to trust Kingi’s plan. He said it was premature for Kingi to start a blame game instead of addressing the misgiving of the leaders.

“He should not blame us for the monkey on his back,” said Mwambire.

Kwale Women Rep Zuleikh Hassan admitted that she has attended multiple meetings with Kingi but has failed to convince leaders on the motive or the agenda of the proposed party.

“I think the proponent of the proposed party idea has failed to bring out its clear agenda for the Coast people. Governor Kingi is using it for political relevance,” said Ms Hassan.

She added; “ODM has a clear agenda for Coast on land reforms and youth employment. Those pushing for the Coast party have never said what they stand for.” 

Mvita MP Abdulswamad Shariff Nassir said ODM is the party of their choice in the Coast region and that leaders will quit it at their own peril.

‘’We have among the ODM top hierarchy, Governor Hassan Ali Joho as the deputy party leader and several leaders who hold positions in parliamentary committee including Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa courtesy of the Orange Party,’’ Nassir said.

He told Kingi to state why he is pushing for a Coast party after his term in office as county chief is ending.

“He should have formed before he was elected governor. We do not know his exact agenda,’’ Nassir said, adding that Coast leaders cannot be hoodwinked by selfish interests of an individual.

But Kingi warned that this attitude could pose a great hurdle for the political integration and development of the region unless the local political leaders came on board.

He said it was unfortunate that the push for regional unity has been left only in his hands. “With this kind of situation, there is a danger that even in next year General Election, this region might still embrace outside political parties.” 

Kingi recently suffered a setback when Coast-based political parties resolved in a retreat in Kilifi County that they would only support a coalition and not a merger of the parties as he had suggested earlier.

He urged Malindi MP Jumwa to move out of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party and embrace the Coast Unity, insisting that he might face the same fate she faced in ODM. 

“Ms Jumwa was chased out of ODM and because the party has its owners, she failed to defend her position. But the sad thing is that after being chased from ODM she again embraced UDA, a non-local political party where she can still face the same fate,” said Governor Kingi.   

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