Mung'aro’s decision to join ODM complicates Saburi’s plans

The Kilifi deputy governor has been campaigning to get party’s ticket

In Summary

•He has also been endorsed by the Kilifi Kaya elders as their candidate of choice.

•On Monday, Mung’aro declared that he will run for the Kilifi governor seat during a meeting attended by ODM leader Raila Odinga.

The decision by Devolution CAS Gideon Mung’aro to vie for the Kilifi governor's seat on an ODM ticket has complicated the maths for other candidates seeking the same ticket.

Governor Amason Kingi, who is serving his second and last term as county boss, is yet to openly endorse any candidate.

His deputy, Gideon Saburi, has been campaigning to get the ODM ticket.

He has been endorsed by the Kilifi Kaya elders as their candidate of choice.

On Monday, Mung’aro declared that he will run for the Kilifi governor's seat during a meeting attended by ODM leader Raila Odinga.

Raila had led the ODM brigade to Mung'aro’s family home in Dabaso, Watamu, to condole with them following the death of his uncle Mzee Japhet K Mung’aro.

Raila welcomed Mung’aro back to the party and was seen to be endorsing his candidature in the governor's race.

However, Kilifi deputy governor, who has declared interest to run for the seat, has on several occasions labelled Mung’aro as a disloyal person who campaigned against ODM in the last general election.

Mung’aro was the Jubilee Party candidate seeking to kick out Kingi, who was the ODM candidate in the region.

Mung’aro came in second after Kingi, before he was appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta as Lands Chief Administrative Secretary.

Early this year, he was transferred to the Devolution ministry in the same capacity.

Mung’aro said he cannot be described as an outsider or disloyal to the ODM party because he was among the first people to be elected on the party ticket in 2013.

He also said he was the first to bring ODM to Kilifi.

“I’m the one who brought ODM to Coast together with Tourism CS Najib Balala,”  the CAS said.

He reiterated that Kilifi residents rejected him after joining Jubilee during the 2017 general election, as they termed him an ODM rebel.

Mung’aro said Raila was aware that he exited ODM because he was a friend to President Uhuru Kenyatta, and for him being in government in the last four years, a lot of developments came to the county.

He mentioned the Malindi Salagate Road, Baricho Bridge, Mariakani-Bamba Road, Sabaki-Marafa Road, among other projects.

“There are people lying that they brought tarmac to this region. Soon, I will bring the President to inspect the projects. I initiated the Mayungu-Watamu road and it will be extended from Gede to Mijomboni,” he said.

Mung’aro said he is the solution to Kilifi since Kingi was completing his second and last term and he will take over the mantle.

The CAS said he is aware the next government would be formed by Raila and President Uhuru, which is why he is seeking the governor seat.

“If I become Kilifi governor, I want us to agree that we shall initiate many projects including those that will transform the youths. I do not want to bring wheelbarrows here,” he said.

Mung’aro sought Raila’s blessing in front of Saburi, who was also present.

In 2017, Saburi said those who left ODM still had a chance to come back to the party.

“My brother Mung’aro, I have accepted you back in ODM,” he said.

However, he said the moment Mung’aro left, they took over the leadership mantle and became the party owners in the region.

“Because we are a democratic party, we will fight over the nomination ticket and the right candidate will become the flag-bearer,”  Saburi said.

He urged Raila to ensure that ODM remains democratic, adding that he is confident of becoming the party flag bearer.

Ganze MP Teddy Mwambire, who was also present, welcomed Mung’aro back to ODM and dismissed those critics who claim Mung’aro did nothing when he was in Lands ministry.

Raila said, whoever becomes governor, will have enough money to bring development to the people.

About eight candidates including Aisha Jumwa (Malindi MP) are in the race for the governor seat in the region.

Others include Kenyan envoy to Tanzania Dan Kazungu, Kilifi speaker Jimmy Kahindi, former Labor CS Kazungu Kambi, Magarini MP Michael Kingi, former Kilifi agriculture chief officer Baha Nguma, and engineer Dzombo Mbaru.

Mung’aro and Kambi were in the highly contested race for governor in 2017 but lost to Kingi who also championed the victory of the ODM party.

It is believed that the one who will be in ODM shall carry the day as the area is Raila’s stronghold for many years.

Jumwa declared she would vie for the seat with UDA ticket, allied to DP William Ruto.

The Kilifi governor has not endorsed any candidate to succeed him, but it is believed his Tufe Movement would have a candidate once the party is launched.

Some say he may front his brother, the Magarini MP, to succeed him but critics said he would fail if he chose that path.


Edited by Kiilu Damaris