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Fierce battle in Kwale as Ruto praises Achani

At least six aspirants want to succeed outgoing Governor Mvurya after his final term.

In Summary

• During his two-day visit to Kwale, Ruto indicated he would support Deputy Governor Achani to succeed Mvurya.

• Ruto threw his al weight behind Achani by asking locals if they want good work to continue.

Deputy President William Ruto with Kwale Deputy Governor Fatuma Achani at Kombani groundS in Matuga on Thursday, October 14
MADAM GOVERNOR? Deputy President William Ruto with Kwale Deputy Governor Fatuma Achani at Kombani groundS in Matuga on Thursday, October 14
Image: SHABAN OMAR

Kwale Deputy Governor Fatuma Achani has seemingly received the backing of Deputy President William Ruto for the gubernatorial seat come 2022.

At least six aspirants have lined up to succeed Governor Salim Mvurya as he completes his final term.

During his two-day visit to Kwale, Ruto left little doubt that would like to see Achani in the governor's mansion.

On Thursday and Friday, Ruto was given a warm reception by Achani as they both made a grand entrance to the dais at Kombani Grounds.

Everyone sang one song about the Bottom-Up economic model.

They attended several rallies and meetings, reaching out to youth and women for empowerment programmes.

At the Ukunda Showgrounds, Ruto threw his political weight behind Achani by indirectly asking residents to support her.

"Si mnasema kazi iendelee?" ("Are we in harmony that work should continue?" Ruto asked.

He spoke after Achani delivered her 15-minute speech, campaigning for the hustle movement and insisting that those who are in a position to carry their bosses’ legacies are the deputies.

"Ruto is the right person to take over from President Uhuru Kenyatta and here in Kwale I am the only one capable of succeeding Mvurya and continuing with his development record," she said.

Normally the Kwale DG slogan is 'Hatuachani na Achani, kazi iendelee'.

It is believed that Ruto persuaded Mvurya and Achani to join the Jubilee Party in 2016 when they left the ODM Party.

But after the December 2020 Msambweni by-election, the political friendship weakened.

The two had since then been boycotting Ruto's meetings despite supporting the DP candidate Feisal Bader against ODM's Omar Boga.

Achani and Mvurya had reportedly fallen out with the hustler movement because of the Lunga-Lunga MP Khatib Mwashetani who had declared interest in the governor seat, creating rivalry.

But Mwashetani later dropped out of the race and maintained he would defend his Lunga-Lunga parliamentary seat.

In her Ukunda speech, Achani promised to strengthen their friendship by rallying behind Ruto for the presidency as she goes for the governor seat.

Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa also endorsed Achani for the governor position.

"When we have Ruto at the top, down here will be Achani," she said.

Jumwa encouraged the residents to endorse women's leadership and the role they play in society.

She said women are the backbone of the nation and are in a better position to lead.

Ruto and Jumwa's actions have, however, sent chills and panic through the camp of Achani's opponents who thought it would be a walk in the park for the gubernatorial race.

Initially, engineer Chai Lung'anzi was the only aspirant to have shown interest to vie through the UDA party for the county's top seat.

Some months ago at Lunga-Lunga Primary ground, Lung'anzi was welcomed to the hustler nation when Ruto toured the region for a fundraiser for the imams.

Lung'anzi has since then been gaining popularity as he sat at the high table with Ruto to discuss county politics.

However, the reunion of Ruto and Achani has caused confusion in the UDA party.

But Mwashetani said everyone will be given a fair opportunity and the party won't favour any candidate.

DP Ruto also said UDA respects democracy and each one will be treated equally.

This means there is a high possibility for Achani and Lung’anzi to lock horns in the party nominations if they both seek the UDA ticket for governor.

One local political analyst said Lung'anzi and other aspirants might be forced back to the drawing board to prepare for a major political battle.

Other aspirants to the governor's seat are Chirau Ali Mwakwere, Sammy Ruwa (speaker), Agriculture PS Hamadi Bog,  Gereza Dena and others.

Meanwhile, as the 2022 general election nears, potential candidates are flexing their muscles for a gruelling campaign that has started in earnest.

Some candidates have already begun vote hunting, enough proof that Kwale residents should brace themselves for a fierce political battle.

However, Lung'anzi urged his fellow candidates to engage in peaceful campaigns as they head towards the general elections.

(Edited by V. Graham)

 

Deputy Governor Fatuma Achani speaks at Ukunda showground in Kwale county on Friday, October 15.
I'M RUNNING: Deputy Governor Fatuma Achani speaks at Ukunda showground in Kwale county on Friday, October 15.
Image: SHABAN OMAR