Coast leaders rally behind Raila Odinga as Hassan Joho drops bid for presidency
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho has dropped his quest for presidency in favour of his party leader Raila Odinga as ODM launched a campaign blitz at the Coast meant to lock out Deputy President William Ruto from the region.
Elected leaders vowed to ensure DP William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) does not "scatter" the region’s votes. Currently, Mr Ruto has the support of two ODM MPs, Aisha Jumwa (Malindi) and Benjamin Tayari (Kinango).
Governors Joho, Granton Samboja (Taita Taveta) and Dhado Godhana (Tana River), as well as MPs Omar Mwinyi (Changamwe), Badi Twalib (Jomvu), Ali Wario (Garsen), Teddy Mwambire (Ganze) and Ken Chonga (Kilifi South) and Woman reps Zulekha Hassan (Kwale) and Asha Hussein (Mombasa) declared their support for Mr Odinga. Businessman Suleiman Shahbal, who is eyeing the Mombasa governor’s post, also said he would support Mr Odinga.
The leaders were speaking at the Wild Waters in Mombasa during an ODM delegates meeting yesterday. They said the region will follow the same direction and speak with one voice to ensure Coast benefits.
In their declaration during the Azimio la Umoja Forum, the leaders said they will consolidate their numbers in the region and negotiate for positions to ensure equitable share of the national cake.
Mr Odinga said the Coast has suffered for long due to marginalisation and land injustices. In a reference to the Ruto camp, the ODM leader asked the region to shun pretenders who only come to the region for votes saying only the Orange party has the interest of residents at heart. He also asked voters to unite with the rest of the country in ODM.
“The land injustices date from pre-colonial, colonial and post-independence periods. Taita Taveta residents feel abandoned to endless human-wildlife conflicts that result in loss of lives and destruction of their farms. The people here also believe they bear the unfair burdens of human rights abuses and extra judicial killings,” he said.
He added the region should benefit from its enormous minerals to boost its economy.
Mr Odinga assured the leaders that he wants partnership and not supporters.
“Cashewnuts can be processed to create jobs. We will ensure the people of the Coast get what they deserve and be prosperous and secure as other parts of the country,” he said.
Mr Joho accused the Tangatanga camp of trying to impose leaders on the Coast people instead of letting them decide.
“Some people have the audacity to decide who will be the MP, governor. They do not respect us. Don’t be drawn in by their politicking, all they do is criticise and remind you how poor you are,” he added.
The governor said he will sacrifice his ambitions to support Mr Odinga and if the former PM does not vie, the county chief will be in the ring.
“Since I began politics, Mr Odinga has always been my leader because I believe if we want to be in State House, it will be through him. He has to clear the way for us to be in State House,” said Mr Joho. Mr Godhana said Mr Ruto’s bottom-up approach will not benefit the region.
“We will stick with you through thick and thin, we will heed to your calls and no one else,” said Mr Godhana.
CAS Gideon Mungaro, who is vying for Kilifi gubernatorial seat, lauded President Uhuru Kenyatta for developing the region’s infrastructure.
“We want to be on the high table to resolve our own issues. We want an agreement that Coast will be partners in the next government and not supporters or voters. If this agenda is implemented, Mr Odinga please don’t campaign in this region, we will do it for you,” said CAS Gideon Mungaro.
Governor Samboja said Mr Odinga deserves the 2022 presidency after sacrificing a lot for the country.
He accused the DP of locking them out of government.
“Why didn’t you give us positions while you were forming the government? President Kenyatta ensured equity but you gave one region all the slots,” Mr Samboja said in reference to the DP.
“Mr Odinga you are different from the rest who are begging us to support them instead of asking how they will resolve our issues. We are tired of the Tourism CS position, we want Foreign Affairs and security dockets,” he added.
The Taita Taveta governor said he will ensure his Kilifi counterpart Amason Kingi, Lamu’s Fahim Twaha and Kwale’s Salim Mvurya support Mr Odinga.
“We are glad you sat with Governor Mvurya on Friday, we need everyone to join this vehicle,” he said.
Mr Samboja urged Amani National Congress party leader Musalia Mudavadi, Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula and Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka to support Mr Odinga.