GOING ALL THE WAY

We won't pull out of Msambweni race, says UGM

Aspirant Mwakaonje does not plan to support anyone else

In Summary

• Zaja said the principles and policies of the party does not allow for such a merger at the moment.

• On Sunday, Bader denied knowledge of any planned meeting to have other candidates withdraw in his favour.

UGM's Khamis Mwakaonje [C] in Msambweni on Friday.
NOT BACKING DOWN: UGM's Khamis Mwakaonje [C] in Msambweni on Friday.
Image: BRIAN OTIENO
UGM's Khamis Mwakaonje, a medical doctor.
IN THE RACE UGM's Khamis Mwakaonje, a medical doctor.
Image: BRIAN OTIENO

The United Green Movement has denied reports it is working with other parties against ODM in the December 15 Msambweni by-election.

Secretary general Hamisa Zaja on Sunday said candidate Khamis Mwakaonje Liganje will go all the way to the ballot.

“As UGM, we have no plans to support any other candidate apart from our own – Mwakaonje,” she Zaja.

Zaja said the principles and policies of the party do not allow for a merger at the moment.

Zaja said Mwakaonje has been fronted by Msambweni residents, and they cannot go against the will of the people.

On Friday, a meeting that was to be presided over by close allies of Deputy President William Ruto, including former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama, his former Mombasa and Kakamega counterparts Hassan Omar and Boni Khalwale, and Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa, in favour of Feisal Bader was thwarted by the government.

Bader ditched ODM and intends to vie for the seat left vacant after the death of immediate former MP Suleiman Dori on an independent ticket. Dori was his uncle.

Bader was Dori’s personal assistant and is being supported by DP Ruto.

Lunga Lunga MP Khatib Mwashetani and his Kinango counterpart Benjamin Tayari, both Ruto allies, have already declared support for Bader.

On Sunday, he denied knowledge of any planned meeting to have other candidates withdraw in his favour.

 

These, according to sources in Kwale, include Bashir Kilalo and Peter Nzuki, among others.

“The meeting we had planned never took place. How could I know if candidates wanted to withdraw in my favour?” Bader asked on the phone.

He, however, welcomed any aspirant who wishes to withdraw from the race in his favour.

ODM candidate Omar Boga, a former Gombato MCA, is one of the strong contenders for the seat.

Others eyeing the seat include Wiper’s Sheikh Abdulrahman, Charles Bilali, Sharlet Akinyi, Mwarere wa Mwachai, Mohamed Burji, among others.

Ruto's allies were to have a closed-door meeting at Diani Reef Beach Resort before addressing the public at Ukunda showground.

However, police mounted roadblocks in and out of Diani to prevent any convoy from heading towards the venue.

This followed a ban on public gatherings that have not been permitted by the police announced by the National Security Advisory Committee on Wednesday.

The committee, led by Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, said the guidelines are aimed at taming political incitement and violence at political rallies, social media and the mainstream media.

Under the directives, conveners of the meetings will be required to obey orders given to them by the OCS, or any other officer of or above the rank of an inspector.

On Sunday, Zaja told the Star that UGM is not like other parties that want to use Msambweni to flex their muscles to settle political scores and not to help residents.

“Mwakaonje is born and raised in Msambweni and will use his medical expertise to help improve the health sector in the area, which is in dire need of a facelift,”  Zaja said.

The secretary general said their priority was to improve the health sector and empower locals to be able to fend for themselves.