Raila offensive to thwart Ruto Coast forays - Beaking Kenya News

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Friday, 12 February 2021

Raila offensive to thwart Ruto Coast forays


ODM leader Raila Odinga is working to minimise the impact of Deputy President William Ruto's forays into his Coastal stronghold.

Raila has managed to dissuade his allies from forming a regional party that would all but signal a massive loss of ground for the Orange team.

The Star has established that Raila's allies from the region are no longer shopping for their own political vehicle ahead of the 2022 General Election.

They want to avert political blunders that could raise Ruto's influence in the region that has for the last three general elections voted overwhelmingly for Raila.

Days after the DP combed Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi counties, Raila's regional stalwarts promised to stay put and strengthen ODM.

Sources say the push for Raila's allies from the region to form a coalition of local parties is part of a strategy to consolidate the region behind Raila.

The ODM boss' confidants have also amplified the push to field a presidential candidate in the 2022 General Election.

The bid, insiders say, is no threat to Raila who is expected to be endorsed by ODM as its 2022 presidential candidate at a national delegates convention next year.

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho
Image: FILE

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and his Kilifi counterpart Amason Kingi have declared their intention to run for president. Joho will challenge Raila for the ODM ticket.

“We are working together to unify the people of the Coast region at the moment without leaving anyone out,” Mvita MP Abdullswamad Nasir said.

The Raila ally said that the leaders have embarked a plan to consolidate the region and boost their bargaining power as the country hurtles to the 2022 polls.

On Thursday, Raila held a meeting with 18 ODM lawmakers from the Coast to firm up a plan to review the impact of Ruto's three-day tour of the region last week.

The Star has established that the ODM boss is also planning to visit the region to market the BBI and meet all party MCAs from the Coast in Mombasa.

There have been concerns from the region over the BBI especially on the distribution for the proposed 70 extra constituencies.

“Next week we have a sitting with the BBI experts, we want to clear the air about the number of constituencies. We agreed to discuss the merits of BBI versus the lies the other side is spreading,” Abdulswamad said after the meeting with Raila.

There are reports that the meeting was convened to draw a campaign message for the BBI at the Coast to address their fears and counter the hustler narrative.

Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir.
Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir.

The meeting came a day after governors Joho, Kingi, Grantons Samboja (Taita Taveta) and Tana River's Dhadho Godhana kicked out Kwale county chief Salim Mvurya as chair of the region's economic bloc.

Mvurya is Ruto's key point man at the Coast and saw his political profile was buoyed after he led a strong campaign to deliver the Msambweni MP seat to the DP's fold.

Stung by Ruto's latest forays, the four governors on Wednesday held a five-hour closed-door meeting in Taita Taveta to discuss the future of the region. They elected Samboja to replace the Ruto ally as the chairman of the Jumuia ya Pwani.

Joho and Kingi have been tasked with seeking the support of their colleagues in the region, who are serving their first term, to strategise on a common move ahead of the 2022 polls.

Joho and Kingi are serving their second term in office as is Mvurya.

Speaking during a media briefing after their meeting, Samboja said the region has had enough of supporting candidates from other regions every election cycle.

He said they shall rally the region towards establishing a common political party.

“Those that we have supported in the past should come and support us. We have agreed to lead our people from the front," Samboja said.

The governors further agreed to campaign for the BBI.

Governor Granton Samboja.
Governor Granton Samboja.
Image: FILE

“Going forward, we have agreed to seek bigger support from like-minded politicians and political parties. The region remains focused on being included at the national level.”

Sources from the meeting told the Star that the governors have finally agreed on a political approach to rally behind an existing party before bargaining within ODM.

The trio shall then be positioned to lead the political party with Joho at the helm.

“The main aim is to get at least a deputy president from the Coast region in the next government that will be formed after 2022,” a source privy to Wednesday's meeting resolutions said.

During Ruto’s tour of Kwale, Kilifi and Mombasa counties, he dissuaded his allies from forming a new party.

Ruto hyped the United Democratic Alliance as the best bet for the region, suggesting they could pick as secretary general Kilifi North MP Owen Baya.

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