•President Kenyatta has shown faith in Matiang’i by delegating some of his duties to him.
• Mombasa county assembly speaker ‘mistakenly’ referred to Matiang’i as 'acting deputy president’.
Coast leaders want Interior CS Fred Matiang'i to be Governor Hassan Joho's running mate in the 2022 presidential elections.
The two, they said, would form a formidable team due to their bravery, popularity and ability to make tough decisions and stand by them.
The leaders, who were speaking during the Eid Baraza in Mombasa on Wednesday, said Joho and Matiang’i have what it takes to lead the country. They were drawn from different parts of the country unlike in the past Eid Barazas.
Matiang’i was the chief guest at the Baraza. He said he was representing President Uhuru Kenyatta who is in Canada on official duty.
Kilifi South MP Ken Chonga said Kenya’s next president will come from the Coast.
“The stand of any Coast person is known. In 2022, we will not be looking for a president from anywhere else. We have the president here. Let those others speak but we have decided,” Chonga said.
The MP noted that President Uhuru has already shown faith in Matiang’i by delegating some of his duties to him when he put him in charge of all the government projects.
“I urge you my brother, Sultan, that when we put you there as the President of the Republic of Kenya, to ensure that your deputy is Matiang’i because he is capable. He has been tested and proven that he is capable,” he said.
The annual event, marked on Idd-ul-Fitr, is meant for local religious and political leaders to reflect on the county’s achievements in the previous year and chart the way forward.
This year’s event was unique. It was the first time a national government leader was invited as the chief guest and accompanied by political and government leaders from different regions apart.
Political leaders, mostly from the Coast region and ODM, ‘demanded’ that Joho run for president deputised Matiang’i.
Joho has already declared interest in running for president and has been on the political warpath with Deputy President William Ruto, who is determined to succeed Uhuru.
“Be firm like Hassan Joho. Do not be intimidated by people who don’t want Kenya to transform,” Likoni MP Mishi Mboko told Matiang’i, who sat pensively as leaders declared support for him.
Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir said Joho has no choice but to listen to the voice of the people of the Coast.
“We demand that you go for the presidency,” he said.
Wajir Woman Representative Fatuma Gedi, in a veiled criticism of Ruto’s Tangatanga team, said early campaigns should be stopped.
She said Joho’s popularity across the country has grown immensely.
“The Coast is lucky because your son is known and loved everywhere. When you hear Uhuru and Raila, you hear Joho next,” she said.
Mombasa county assembly speaker Aharub Khatri caused laughter when he ‘mistakenly’ referred to Matiang’i as the ‘acting deputy president’.
Joho said Ruto’s team has panicked and is ‘already defending itself from accusations levelled against them’.
“The President said there will be new banknotes and they are already saying they have not hoarded any money. It is like someone replying to a greeting that has not been given to them,” he said.
The governor said Kenya needs unity and "anyone who opposes the handshake between Uhuru and ODM leader Raila Odinga does not want peace".
Mathare MP Anthony Oluoch said those attacking Matiang’i are attacking Uhuru because he is performing duties that the President would have done himself but delegated them to the CS.
“Those Rift Valley MPs should let Matiang’i do his work,” he said.
In reference to Ruto, the Mathare MP said the DP has shown a lack of respect for his boss.
“If you want to become president, be president without calling your boss names like ‘the Son of the former President’. When and how did you stop calling the president the boss or commander-in-chief, or my big brother?” Oluoch asked.
Oluoch said Joho has been the most consistent Raila follower.
“It is for that reason that I am here today on behalf of Mathare people. I assure you that wherever you will go with Baba’s blessings, I will support you,” the Mathare MP said.
Matiang’i steered clear of politics.
He said the government will continue delivering development to the people.
“We are following the directive by the President that this is a time to work. We are going to work and not engage in other business,” he said.
(Edited by R.Wamochie)