SHIFTING GROUND

Kingi, Selina defection latest Ruto onslaught on ODM

The DP now has the backing of Salim Mvurya (Kwale), Kilifi and some MPs in all the six Coast counties

In Summary

•The Kingi-led party had presented three issues; land, inclusivity and the Coastal economy, which they want Ruto’s government to address if it gets into office.

•He was confident that with the coming of Kingi to Kenya Kwanza, they were assured of 98 per cent of the Kilifi votes.

Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi.
Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi.
Image: Amason Kingi/Twitter

Deputy President William Ruto is gradually making inroads in the Coast region, which for a very long time has been perceived as an ODM zone.

The decisions by Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi to join Kenya Kwanza and Suleiman Shahbal’s running mate Selina Maitha to decamp to UDA, are Ruto’s latest onslaught on ODM and Azimio la Umoja coalition.

Ruto now has the backing of two governors, Kingi (Kilifi) and Salim Mvurya (Kwale) and some MPs in all the six Coast counties.

On Monday, Ruto received Kilifi assembly speaker Jimmy Kahindi and Selina Maitha to UDA. 

On Tuesday, the DP received Kingi and his Pamoja Africa Alliance party into the Kenyan Kwanza Alliance.

Kingi signed a coalition deal with the Ruto-led Kenya Kwanza coalition making it official that his PAA party had officially quit its political marriage to Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition.

“We shall work together to ensure that we deliver the presidency and take Ruto to State House,” Kingi said during a media briefing at Karen.

He said the bottom-up economic model by Kenya Kwanza resonated well with Kilifi and the Coast people.

“We want to see that the living standards of our people are improved, this is what Kenya Kwanza stands for. I believe we shall all have a reason to smile once we take power,” he said.

The Kingi-led party had presented three issues: land, inclusivity and the Coast economy, which they want Ruto’s government to address if it gets into office.

The DP acknowledged the agreement signed saying he was willing, committed, and had every intention to deliver on it.

He was confident that with the coming of Kingi to Kenya Kwanza, they were assured of 98 per cent of the Kilifi votes.

In 2017, Kingi managed to deliver to ODM a clean sweep in all the electives seats in the county.

“We know how efficient and committed you (Kingi) are because in 2017 you showed us dust ensuring that Jubilee does not get even a single seat in Kilifi,” Ruto said.

He said the national government had no intention of disrupting the coastal economy when it embarked on constructing the Standard Gauge Railway.

He said that it was unfortunate that the project was hijacked by a few selfish powerful individuals for their gains to the detriment of the people.

“SGR was meant to improve and make port services more efficient,” he said.

“We shall take all administrative and legal steps to ensure that we return port services to Mombasa.”

Ruto said that his administration will address the land issue in the region by allocating resources that will enable residents to acquire land from absentee landlords.

“We want to walk this journey together to ensure that no Kenyan will continue living as a squatter,” the DP said.

However, political analysts in the coast region have said the decision by Kingi and other coast leaders to join Ruto does not affect the region.

Rocha Chimera of Pwani University said Kingi’s move to Kenya Kwanza has been motivated by selfish interest and not the region’s interest as he purports.

“Kingi adds nothing to Ruto,” Chimera said.

“It only happened that they were all in ODM, and you cannot imply that what happened five years ago will happen again in August. The ground has changed.” 

He said that Kingi did not deliver a clean sweep in Kilifi, it was the people who voted for leaders they saw were going to deliver.

Chimera said the reason Kingi formed PAA was to seek national recognition.

He said Kingi leaving Azimio had nothing to do with ODM leader Raila Odinga, but rather his fight with Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho who has outshone him as the Coast region’s political kingpin.

“Kingi has never been ready to play second fiddle to Joho. Raila and Ruto recognise Joho as a force to reckon with in the region,” he said.

Chimera said that it was too early to say that Ruto was making inroads in the region as it was only leaders who had moved.

He said that both Raila and Ruto can only be assured of votes in their backyards.

“As for the Coast, Eastern, North Eastern, Western, and even Central regions, they all remain swing votes since the people do not have their candidate on the ballot. They can vote either way,” Chimera said.

Hassan Mwakimako said Kingi’s move was based on selfish interest and that he has nothing to add to the Ruto’s camp.

“Kingi himself struggled to form PAA, and the idea of moving from one coalition to another was for his interest to get recognition,” Mwakimako said.

He said his recent move is going to affect PAA’s Kilifi governor candidate and other candidates who were not consulted about the move.

“It is interesting to see what is going to happen in days to come, leaders vying under PAA are going to find it difficult with the electorates on the ground,” he said.

He said UDA is gaining ground in Kilifi, Kwale, and Mombasa and that ODM should be worried.

“The shifts and realignments are going to cause problems to the ODM leadership in the region,” he said.

 

Edited by Kiilu Damaris

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