Nyali MP Mr Hezron Awiti welcomed at the Likoni Legio Maria Church by the spiritual leader of Legio Maria in Kenya ‘Pope’ Raphael Adika
By ABDULKARIM SHERMAN
The Mijikenda community is mobilising all its nine communities from Kwale and Kilifi counties so as they can vote as a block come 2017 it can be revealed today.
Mrs Mwanamgeni Salim and Mr Ibrahim Kai, two opinion leaders from the Mijikenda community that include Digos and Durumas from Kwale County and Ribe, Giriama, Rabai, Chonyi, Kauma and Jibana from Kilifi County said they want a new approach in the area politics ahead of 2017.
The two who were speaking during a function where Legio Maria spiritual leader ‘Pope’ Raphael Adika blessed Nyali MP Hezron Awiti said both upcountry and coast communities should work together towards changing the area politics.
Mrs Salim and Mr Kai asked both the upcountry communities and those from Coast region to support Mr Awiti in his bid for Mombasa Governor’s seat.
‘Pope’ Adika called on the Luo community and all members of the Legio Maria in Mombasa to rally behind Mr Awiti.
Mrs Salim and Mr Kai said it would be fool-hardy for the Luos not to support Mr Awiti in his bid to unseat Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho as he had a lot of goodwill from other communities in the area.
“The community has only one opportunity in both the national and Mombasa County politics through former Prime Minister Raila Odinga (for the presidency) and Mr Awiti ( for Mombasa Governor, Mombasa). If you squander this opportunity you will only have yourselves to blame,” Mr Kai said.
Mr Awiti’s candidature, according to Mr Kai, is therefore very critical in the politics of Mombasa.
The race for Mombasa Governor’s seat is taking a very dramatic twist and according to analysts, however will be able to get the support of both upcountry and coast region voters would carry the day.
Interviews with a cross-section of Kwale and Kilifi residents indicate that the Mijikenda community, the largest single voting bloc in the area, is regrouping to control Mombasa politics.
A series of meetings are being held in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale with political strategists to consolidate the voting bloc.
Former Labour Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi has been meeting strategists led by Kilifi North’s Pascal Maitha in Nairobi. Several groups involving the Mijikenda Youth Forum, Mijikenda Kaya Elders Council and the Kaloleni MP Gunga Mwinga-led Kadu Asili party, are championing the agenda.
Apart from Mr Gunga, several MPs from Kwale and Kilifi including Kinango’s Gonzi Rai are reportedly working behind the scenes.
“We are keen to control Mombasa politics because the county is strategically placed, both politically and economically,” Mr Maitha said.
During the Sunday event in Likoni, Mr Awiti said the Luo and Mijikenda communities have a lot in common given that over the years they have been used as ‘voting machines’, propelling some politicians to political offices but remain subservient.
Nyali MP Hezron Awiti being prayed for by the Spiritual leader of the Legio Maria Church ‘Pope’ Raphael Adika at the Likoni Maria Church.
“If you support me for the top County seat, I will walk shoulder high to seek the support of other groups so that together we can fight discrimination and a leadership that that has neglected its responsibility of good governance,” he said.
Mr Awiti however, warned his supporters that his bid to unseat Mr Joho is not going to be an easy one and they must be ready to support him fully. He however, asked them to uphold peace and unity during the campaigns.
Similarly, other communities mainly from the upcountry have been strategising and positioning themselves to win key seats mainly parliamentary and County wards. In the ongoing strategies the Kikuyu have set their eyes on the Nyali Parliamentary seat currently held by Mr Awiti.
The Kamba are eying the Changamwe seat, while the Mijikenda want to control Kisauni, Jomvu and Likoni besides the much talked about seat of deputy governor. Mvita will undoubtedly be the preserve of the Swahili/Arab community.
So far, the seat of Mombasa governor currently held by Mr Joho has attracted Mr Awiti, Senator Hassan Omar (both from Wiper) and Suleiman Shahbal (Jubilee). There is also talk that Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala is being persuaded to fly the Jubilee flag.
Mr Balala who contested Mombasa senatorial seat in 2013 has kept mum about the proposal to run for governor in 2017.
Mr Joho will be defending his seat in preparation for a stub at national politics in 2022 when he says he will be vying for the country’s presidency.
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