TOO LATE

New political party will confuse residents, says MP

Kwale lawmaker Hassan says it will be difficult to rally Coast residents behind new outfit

In Summary

•On Friday, ODM deputy leader and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir said they are in ODM to stay, diverging from an earlier statement where four governors from the region declared they will have a common party to push for their agenda.

•MPs allied to Deputy President William Ruto are pushing for the formation of a Coast-based political party through which the region can bargain for more resources.

Kwale Woman Representative Zulekha Hassan at Busho in Kinango on Sunday, February 14, 2021
SENSITISATION: Kwale Woman Representative Zulekha Hassan at Busho in Kinango on Sunday, February 14, 2021
Image: JOHN CHESOLI

 

It is too late to form a Coast-based party for next year's general elections because such a move will only confuse residents, an MP has said.

Kwale Woman Representative Zuleikha Hassan said it won't be easy to ask supporters to move from one party to another with less than 18 months to next year's general elections.

“Such a move will also complicate Coast leaders' agenda of uniting the region behind one homegrown party ahead of 2022‚” Hassan said.

She spoke on Sunday in Busho in Kinango constituency where she held a BBI sensitisation meeting. The lawmaker also donated a wheelchair and other equipment to residents.

On Friday, ODM deputy leader and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir said they are in the party to stay. Their remarks deviated from an earlier statement where four governors from the region declared they will have a common party to push for residents' agenda. Joho was among those four county chiefs.

In Kwale, Hassan said the Tangatanga brigade is advocating for the formation of a Coastal party which may go against the Elections Act and the Political Parties Act.

“These acts do not allow us to have tribal or regional parties. All political parties must have members in at least 24 counties,” she said.

MPs allied to Deputy President William Ruto are pushing for the formation of a Coast-based political party through which the region can bargain for more resources.

However, other MPs feel the push is a ploy to weaken the region by dividing it.

They say the Tangatanga plan is to have a political party formed then have it swallowed by United Democratic Alliance, a party linked to Ruto.

“We know their plans,” an MP from Mombasa, who asked not to be named said.

“We have people who know their plans and these people just want what is good for the country. That is why they tell us everything that is being planned there,” said the lawmaker.

Umoja Summit Party of Kenya (USPK) secretary-general Naomi Cidi on Tuesday said both the Tangatanga and Kieleweke MPs are out for their own selfish interests.

“We already have a Coast-based party in USPK. Those who truly want the unity of the region will see the sense in joining USPK instead of coming up with yet another party or clinging onto other people’s parties where they are only guests who can be ejected anytime,” Cidi said.

Cidi has been pushing for the unity of the region for decades.

Her efforts have always been thwarted by the ODM and Jubilee MPs in the region.

However, the formation of USPK has given her the strength to move forward with her unity crusade.

“Those who don’t want the region's unity are the ones who cling on to other people’s parties and those who want to form yet another party,” she said.

However, with the numbers that USPK is gaining through their sensitisation campaigns since January, they feel the future is bright.

USPK was founded about two years ago and so far, the party is clocking 100,000 members across the country.

According to Cidi, USPK seems to be stronger in Western than in Coast region.

In Coast, Kwale county has received the USPK better than the other counties.

Political analysts say the party may be doing better in Western than at the Coast because of the ODM dominance at the Coast, especially in Kilifi county.

That is why ODM MPs are now pushing to have the orange party as the basis for uniting the region rather than having a new party.

But Cidi said selfish interests are behind the push.

“Those in ODM know that they will benefit whether the region is united or not,”  Cidi said 

However, Hassan said the Tangatanga group is to blame for causing trouble for the region because they have nothing to lose.

“They have their own selfish interests and know what they are benefitting from the DP,” she said.

She said the push for a new party in the region is one way of dividing the country, something she said most Tangatanga lawmakers are good at.

Hassan said it was worrying that the legislators have allowed themselves to be confused and divided.

“Who wants backward policies like wheelbarrows when their children are ambassadors and judges?” Hassan posed.

She said it is time to allow the people who have fought for the rights of Kenyans in the country to lead.

“We used to say Pwani si Kenya because all the money used to remain in Nairobi. But now people fought for a new Constitution that brought devolution, and we have governors and money trickling down,”  Hassan said.

She said the push by President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga to have the BBI passed is for the benefit of Coast residents who will have more money allocated to their counties.

“The BBI is the silver lining which will help the Coast but there are people who don’t like the Coast people and are spreading propaganda about the BBI,”  Hassan said.

Cidi said the Coast unity agenda is still alive but it is being fought systematically by selfish interests from both within the region and nationally.

“People are being used to grab our lands, to divide us and to ensure we remain forever stepping stones for other leaders. These people do not want the region to rise on its own because they know it will be a strong force that will not be corruptible,” she said.

 

Edited by Kiilu Damaris