Coast women take gauntlet in quest for 2022 top seat duels
Reuben Mwambingu @reubenmwambingu
Women at the coast region have thrown the hat in the ring seeking to contest for governorship in the four coastal counties.
Leading the pack is Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa who is seeking to replace Governor Amason Kingi of Kilifi.
Touted as the modern Mekatili wa Menza for her bold personality, Jumwa has vowed to stop at nothing to fulfill her dream of becoming the first female governor in the region.
“This is an idea whose time has come. I will not bow down to any intimidation. As a woman leader, I will take the leadership,” she said.
Jumwa, a close ally of the Deputy President William Ruto and key United Democratic Alliance(UDA) champion at the Coast, will be fighting to wade through an area perceived as an ODM stronghold; considering the region voted overwhelmingly for the party in the previous elections.
But pundits also believe dynamics are shifting and Kilifi people who have been passionate about the ODM for long, are slowly shifting allegience.
“Her major challenger could have been Owen Baya, but I think they have agreed that Baya settles for something else as she goes for the top seat,” says Pwani University don Hassan Mwakimako.
In Kwale, Deputy Governor Fatma Achani, is on a mission to succeed her boss, Salim Mvurya.
Achani believes her incumbency as the sitting deputy automatically places her in prime position.
She argues that the development track record of the current regime was unmatched, citing the much praised county bursary scheme.
Under their leadership, Achani says the county has improved tremendously in education, health, roads, infrastructure, water, agriculture among other sectors.
“People already know me and know that I can deliver. They will stick to a tested and proven leader,” she told People Daily.
Through the development track record, she says the leadership has successfully united the two major sub-tribes in the county- Digo and Duruma.
“We have delivered all projects in all areas uniformly. A project that is in Digo-land is the same project you will find in Duruma.
It is for this reason that in 2017, Governor Mvurya secured victory in both Digo and Duruma-land regardless of his origin as a son of Duruma. I expect the same support,” she said.
Achani, who is a lawyer by profession says women economic empowerment will be part of her number one priority.
In Taita Taveta county, Patience Nyange, a media and communications practitioner, who currently serves as a council member at the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has declared her interest for the governorship.
Nyange says she has keenly followed the politics of the day in Taita Taveta and understands that there is a clear narrative that voters in the region do not re-elect leaders.
“Considering that people are not willing to recycle leaders, this means there is a gap and I am going to jump there and become the next governor,” says Nyange.
Buoyed by her 15 years of experience in various communications fields, including broadcast journalist, Nyange says she “will use her experience and networks to rebrand the county and open it to the world.”
“My approach will be different. I will say let’s open Taita to the world. Ideal is to rebrand Taita Taveta because the ideologies that have been there don’t work for us.
Okay we say Taita has resources, so what? Why have the resources not benefited us?
How do we rebrand the resources to make them more palatable to the investors,?” observed Nyange in an interview with People Daily.
While her detractors have dismissed her as a mere political novice with zero experience to challenge seasoned politicians such former Governor John Mruttu, former Senator Dan Mwazo, incumbent Governor Granton Samboja, Nyange is confident that her experience and ambition is not young.
Similarly in Lamu, Umra Omar, a neuroscientist and a CNN hero of 2016 working with Safari Doctors, a community-based social enterprise, has also declared intention to unseat Governor Fahim Twaha.
Umra who is seeking to make Twaha a one term governor in Lamu via UDA ticket, says for too long, Lamu County has suffered in silence due to bad governance.
“In the next few years, Lamu is expected to experience exponential growth out of the Lamu port.
This means Lamu has to get out of that boxed mind of retrogressive politics of Lamu West versus Lamu East, Christians and Muslims, indigenous and outsiders.
To wade through this kind of mess, this county requires a visionary leader, who is a complete departure from old politics,” Umra says.
She adds: “I believe I am the right person to steer the county. I am confident going by my global exposure and the good network of my peers, who are also leaders in their countries.”