• A lobby group on Saturday said residents have always elected leaders not based on merit, but on who belongs to which tribe and what party.
• Coast residents also have tribal traits, which push them to reject good leaders who are not from their tribes and elect poor ones from their tribe, he said.
Low education levels, tribalism and poverty have been cited as the main reasons for poor leadership at the Coast.
A lobby group on Saturday said residents have always elected leaders not based on merit, but on who belongs to which tribe and what party.
Ukombozi Wa Haki Coast Movement chairman Said Dhiribo said this results in good leaders being rejected while poor ones are elected.
“Then when the poor leaders we elect fail to deliver, we start blaming them instead of blaming ourselves,” he said.
Dhiribo, who hails from Tana River, said the lobby aims to educate residents on the importance of their votes, education and rights.
It also seeks to start a conversation about electing leaders with good education levels, who will help residents and not their families only.
“We have realised our levels of education at the Coast are wanting. That is why even when it comes to voting, we are seen to elect questionable leaders,” Dhiribo said.
Coast residents also have tribal traits, which push them to reject good leaders who are not from their tribes and elect poor ones from their tribe, he said.
“We want to go round the Coast and educate residents to try and root out tribalism, especially when it comes to voting,” Dhiribo said.
He said there is also the aspect of religion, which affects voting patterns, which they also want to root out.
Maur Bwanamaka, a veteran political activist and a member of the CBO, said there is need for an awakening in the region.
He said area leaders have traditionally been captured by politicians from upcountry, working for their benefits and not for the benefit of the coastal people, whom they represent.
“For long, we have been used as political dogs who always work for their masters. We have been promoting agendas of our masters from upcountry instead of our own agenda,” Bwanamaka said.
He said politics is about resources and residents, including the elected leaders, do not have those resources due to poor education.
This, he said, makes them dependent on sponsors who fund them for political seats and when they capture the seats they have to pay back their sponsors.
Nyali MP Mohammed Ali said most coastal leaders are sponsored to vie for political seats.
Speaking at Congo Boys in Mwembe Tayari, Mvita subcounty, he said MPs and MCAs, especially in Mombasa, are sponsored by tycoons with political and business interests behind the scenes.
“That is why they fear their sponsors more than they fear the voters. They have debts to pay. So, whatever they want to do, they must seek permission from their sponsors who are their masters,” Ali said.
However, the Nyali MP said the blame lies squarely on residents who vote and not the elected leaders.
He said Coast residents always have a chance to rectify their mistakes after every five years but they are always pegged back because they allow themselves to be ‘killed’ through poverty and lack of education so as to forever remain dependent on the leaders.
“A famous musician said ‘kill them before they grow to be able to manipulate them’. That is why the leaders will not build good schools, they will not provide proper healthcare, so that you are not educated and remain unhealthy and poor so they can continue oppressing you,” Ali said.
The commissioner in the powerful Parliamentary Service Commission said other regions elect leaders of substance, including professors, doctors, renowned lawyers, while Coast mostly elects good orators and public relations gurus.
The MP said in other regions people vote thinking of their children, infrastructure, health system and the future generations, while at the Coast, people vote based on who has given them nice lesos and more packets of maize flour.
“The day you will know how to vote is the day you will save Mombasa, the Coast and your futures,” he said.
On Saturday, Ukombozi Wa Haki Coast Movement’s Farida Tall said time has come for residents to be educated on how to vote to elect leaders with substance and not clowns, who will dance to the tune of their masters.
“At the Coast, we have political leaders who are employees of certain tycoons and not representatives of the people. They are in Parliament, but they work for certain individuals,” Tall said.