Coast governors meet to discuss political future
Barely a year to the General Election, Coast governors serving their second and final term are burning the midnight oil to chart new political paths.
Advisors of governors Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Salim Mvurya (Kwale) and Amason Kingi (Kilifi) revealed the county bosses are separately working on plans to play key roles in the polls and maintain relevance.
Joho had been touted as a possible beneficiary of the aborted posts in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
On the other hand, Kingi, who was last month kicked out as the Kilifi ODM chairman has founded Pamoja Alliance (PAA) party, which he claims will champion the rights of Coast people.
In Kwale, Mvurya hopes to influence the next leadership through the election of his deputy, Fatuma Achani and position himself as Deputy President William Ruto’s key point man in the region.
Prof Halimu Shauri, a Sociology lecturer at the Pwani University, argues that for the outgoing governors to stay politically relevant, they must campaign hard for their allies to be elected in next year’s elections.
“They need to look for another way of rejuvenating themselves now that they are finishing their two terms.
For instance, Mvurya is supporting his deputy to succeed him. If the mission succeeds, then he becomes politically relevant in Kwale because it is like continuation of the same regime,” he said.
On Kingi’s decision to form a political party, Shauri is of the view that the governor’s move is a classic case of “starting without the end in mind.” “Kingi’s situation represents all the three governors. They never started becoming governors with the end in mind. They never planned that one day it will end.”
Earlier in the year, secret meetings between Joho and Kingi raised eyebrows with insiders saying the duo could be angling to benefit from positions proposed under BBI.
It is believed that they were in the process of building a network of trusted lieutenants, who will ensure Coast region finds accommodation in the government after next year’s election.
Besides the meetings, the trio was hosted by President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House in what pundits believed was partly to discuss their political future.
But with the collapse of BBI at the Court of Appeal, some observers believe that unless the governors come up with different plots to ensure they resuscitate their future, then they could end up in the political cold as “BBI casualties.”
However, a Coast-based political analyst, Maimuna Mwidau, is of a different view.
While she maintains that BBI was going to accommodate many political players based on the way it was structured to work, she says all is not lost with the court ruling, as they can still find solace in either parliamentary process or by “re-grouping in the form of coalitions.”
“They still need to regroup because as you can see, coalitions are the order of the day in galvanising countrywide support.
Even Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance is still looking for opportunities for other parties that can join them,” she said.
“So with or without BBI, there is still room for those who are finishing their second term, those who are holding small parties without the majority to come together and form a government and share the goodies.
Assuming BBI will not be an option, then there is still room in joining Cabinet,” she said.
Mwidau said the BBI structure would have offered multiple bet options for outgoing governors but after the Appeal court decision, the only available bet that is in the formation of government and make them part of the government.