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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Coast Party Dream turns to nightmare

Paul Katana (cap) is flanked by his supporters after winning the kaloleni parliamentary seat in Kilifi county.Photo / JOHN CHESOLI
Paul Katana (cap) is flanked by his supporters after winning the kaloleni parliamentary seat in Kilifi county.Photo / JOHN CHESOLI

The quest for a strong Coast party to give the region bargaining power has been dealt a big blow as proponents lost election.

Coast residents still prefer ODM and Jubilee to their Coast-based parties.

Kadu Asili’s Kilifi governor hopeful Kazungu Kambi and former Kaloleni MP Gunga Mwinga were the biggest backers of the idea.

Both were reduced to third-place finishes.

Kambi was defeated by ODM’s Governor Amason Kingi, who retained his seat. Jubilee’s Gideon Mung’aro came second.

With 96 per cent of the votes counted by Thursday at 3pm, Kingi was leading with 211,747 votes ( 67.15 per cent) against Mung’aro’s 54,623 votes ( 17.32 per cent).

Kambi had 43 357 votes ( 13.73 per cent).

In the Kaloleni MP race, Mwinga, who had ditched Kadu Asili for the Devolution Party of Kenya, was trailing ODM’s Paul Katana who had 16,836 votes ( 44.63 per cent) with 99 per cent of the votes counted by Thursday 3pm. Jubilee’s Kitsao Ngowa won 6,536 votes ( 17.33 per cent). Mwinga had 6,392 votes ( 16.95 per cent).

Activist Naomi Cidi, a proponent of the Coast party, said the region will find it harder to bargain for benefits in the next five years.

“It means our people still don’t get it. Unless we have our own political line-up so we can go either to Jubilee or NASA to negotiate on equal basis as partners, it will not happen.

“Who now will go to Jubilee and ask for something for the Coast? We might even be denied our rights,” she said.

However, the fact that Jubilee won more votes in 2017 than in 2013 means Coast residents are willing to change if given the right information and motivation.

“All these things would never have happened but there is still hope. For now, we are going to be beggars. We are going to beg either from the opposition or from the government,” Cidi told the Star on the phone on Thursday.

The biggest challenge now in pushing the Coast party idea is finding the right amount of motivation, she said.

“We do not have enough money for sugar, maize and rice for them to listen to you keenly,” Cidi said.

She said the erosion of the ODM stronghold mentality by Jubilee at the Coast is a sign of hope that the Coast people are willing to change.

“But why is it not being eroded by a local party?” Cidi questioned.

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