A group of Coast politicians and professionals are pushing for Kwale governor Salim Mvurya to be Deputy President William Ruto’s running mate in 2022.
Ruto has been making numerous trips to the Coast as he seeks support from the vote-rich region.
His forays into the hitherto perceived opposition zone, which has at least 1.7 million votes, seem to be successful as many ODM MPs have pledged allegiance to him.
The Star has learnt a group called Coast For Change, which includes Mijikenda professionals politicians, has identified Mvurya as the best running mate for Ruto.
The group is led by former Kisauni MP and Ruto’s political advisor Ananiah Mwaboza. They met in Mvurya’s Kwale backyard on July 28 for the first time and made tentative plans on how to market the governor.
The group picked Mvurya among three candidates, the others being Mombasa’s Hassan Joho and Kilifi’s Amason Kingi.
According to those who attended the meeting, Joho was a strong candidate due to is political charisma and wealth but was eventually dropped because of his educational background which has been a source of controversy and the subject of court battles.
Kingi also emerged as a strong candidate but his loyalty to ODM and links to Opposition Chief Raila Odinga might have worked against him, although he now appears to be leaning towards Ruto.
Mvurya’s re-election as governor in 2017 on a Jubilee ticket in a perceived ODM zone tipped the scales in his favour.
“This means he has the skills, the leadership and has been accepted by the people,” Mwaboza told the Star on Saturday.
He said Mvurya is educated, considered charismatic and a good orator.
Other people in the Coast for Change group include Salim Mwakamili from Kwale, a professional on religious matters, and Ravasco Pole, a retired agriculturalist from Kilifi.
The professionals are drawing grassroots schemes to sell Mvurya.
“We will go to Mombasa, Kilifi, Tana River, Lamu and Taita Taveta to sell Mvurya. If we perceive that he is not wanted, or we feel the people on the ground do not accept him, then we will leave him and look for another candidate,” Mwaboza said.
The Star has learnt the move to push Mvurya is catalysed by the feeling among the politicians and professionals that Mijikenda people were left out of the Cabinet despite their contribution to Jubilee.
“For 50 years, this has never happened. Every Cabinet has had a representative of the Mijikenda people,” said a professional who attended the meeting but requested anonymity.
He told the Star on Saturday they want key ministries to be headed by persons from the Mijikenda community, should Mvurya become deputy president after the 2022 general elections.
The dockets they are eyeing include Tourism, Land and a new one in charge of the blue economy.