Battle for ODM ticket in Kilifi governor race intensifies

Kilifi County Assembly Speaker Jimmy Kahindi accompanied by the executive committee member in charge of Agriculture Mwalimu Menza and the executive committee member Public Management Rachael Musyoki addresses members of the press at Kilifi Town. [File, Standard]

The battlefield for the ODM ticket in the Kilifi governor contest is getting crowded, with County Assembly Speaker Jimmy Kahindi being the latest to throw in the hat.

Yesterday Mr Kahindi dismissed reports that he had joined the Governor Amason Kingi-led Pamoja Alliance Africa (PAA), saying Kilifi people wanted him to fight it out with other aspirants in ODM.

“I will go with what the people tell me. I also conduct my own polls and I have discovered that ODM is the party to beat in Kilifi. People should start to panic,” said Kahindi.

Yesterday allies of Lands CAS Gideon Mung’aro said he was still in the race for the ticket despite claims that Kahindi was favoured by the ODM branch officials.

Kilifi Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi has also declared interest in the ODM ticket for the same seat.

Reports also indicate that Kenya’s High Commissioner to Tanzania Dan Kazungu will fight for the same ODM ticket.

Yesterday Mr Mung’aro’s allies alleged that Kahindi was being favoured by ODM branch officials. This is after Kahindi held a breakfast meeting with ODM leader Raila Odinga last week.

Former Watamu Ward MCA Ibrahim Matumbo said Kahindi’s entry into the race caught them by surprise because it was early agreed that Munga’ro would be automatic candidate for the party.

“It is Mung’aro who led us away from ODM in 2015 and he is the one who has brought us back with the hope that he will be given a direct ticket but some people are now joining the race,” he said.

Matumbo said the Mung’aro team was not involved in the planning of the breakfast meeting between Raila and ODM aspirants in Kilifi.

“Kahindi was in PAA and we wonder why he has decided to join ODM and disrupt Mung’aro’s plans. If ODM is not serious we will tell Mung’aro to walk out and work with PAA,” said Matumbo.

Yesterday Mung’aro told The Standard on the telephone that he had been sick, but was closely following developments in ODM.

Kahindi said he had the democratic space to meet and mingle with anyone anywhere and join any political party. “They have started to panic even before I start campaigns... Raila is not a personal property for some people to claim. I met him and we discussed issues of ODM,” he said. 

Kahindi dismissed reports that he had joined the PAA, adding that his supporters had advised him to hang around Raila Odinga. 

The Kilifi County ODM chairperson Teddy Mwambire dismissed claims that the ticket for any positions had been reserved for particular aspirants, adding that those who were purporting to speak on behalf of Mung’aro had not formally joined the party the way Mung’aro had. 

“If you hear someone crying because of fear of nomination exercise, advise him to recruit more members. If the nomination will have problems, we will repeat, even if its four times, to get the best candidate,” he said.

DP William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance has settled on Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa in the contest for the Kilifi Governor post. PAA is yet to identify its candidate.