- The region has traditionally voted for President William Ruto’s fiercest political rival Azimio leader Raila Odinga.
- However, Ruto has been working on carving out a following in the region from during the campaigns to date.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua on Wednesday gave the clearest indication yet that the Kenya Kwanza administration is eying the Coast region as its wild card for the 2027 general elections.
The region has traditionally voted for President William Ruto’s fiercest political rival Azimio leader Raila Odinga.
However, Ruto has been working on carving out a following in the region from during the campaigns to date.
After clinching power, President Ruto looked to appease the Coast region by immediately reversing a directive that saw port services transferred from Mombasa to Naivasha by the Uhuru Kenyatta regime, largely affecting business and the Coast region’s economy.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has been keen to remind Coast, residents of this gesture, in his numerous trips, more than 10, to the Coast in the last seven months.
“I am happy to be here to push the wheel of development. It is good because it is important we know each other more and create a friendship,” said the DP in Mombasa on Wednesday when he launched the 26 fishing boats donated to the Coast counties through the European-funded Go Blue Project.
“Kwa sababu unajua pale nyuma mulikua munachenga sisi kidogo. Lakini sasa mimi ntakaa hapa mpaka tuingiane tutembee safari moja (In the past, you used to beat us. But now I will camp here until will are aligned and we walk together),” Gachagua said.
“So that in the future we become one people. It is important to plan for the future,” he noted.
He noted the Coast region is a great beneficiary of the Kenya Kwanza administration using the port services reversal order as an example of the commitment that Ruto has to the Coast region.
“We, therefore, want to say that we care for this region. We are aligned to your aspiration and challenges and together we shall make progress,” Gachagua said.
He noted that the blue economy, whose resources the Coast region has been blessed with, will make the greatest contribution to the economy.
“Therefore we shall spend time and resources in the Coast region again and again,” said Gachagua.
Blue Economy CS Salim Mvurya, who has been the Ruto’s key man at the Coast, said the controversial Finance Bill 2023 will be beneficial for fishermen at the Coast because it proposes the imposition of import duty for fish.
“That will inspire local production. As a ministry we are very happy with that decision because we know it will help us inspire investment in fisheries,” said Mvurya, who hails from Kwale County.
He blasted Azimio-leaning MPs who are opposed to the bill, saying they want to incite another round of demonstrations against the bill.
“As Kenyans, we now need to transit. Instead of mob justice, listening to issues of mob justice, it is important that we interrogate issues,” said Mvurya.
He said instead of listening to leaders, Kenyans should attend the public participation sessions that will be organized by Parliament and understand the Finance Bill first before taking action.
“If we go to the streets, we will not have good public participation,” the CS said.
He said the Finance Bill is meant to revamp the country’s economy.
“Instead of subjecting it to mass action, the best way is for us to open doors for participation. Like for us fishermen, we are already happy that once we have a reduction of fish imports, we are able to increase production here,” said Mvurya.