Candidates keep Coast voters guessing
Posted Saturday, April 28 2012 at 21:27
The political future of deputy prime ministers Uhuru Kenyatta and Musalia Mudavadi and former Cabinet minister Najib Balala is expected to influence the direction Coast voters will take in the General Election.
The two deputy prime ministers, who have announced their intention to run for president, are yet to name their parties.
Mr Balala too has not revealed his political home but is expected to name it soon.
Last week, Mr Mudavadi announced that he was leaving ODM – a party that has enjoyed strong support in the Coast. Mr Kenyatta has also ditched Kanu for which he was chairman. (READ: Raila’s former allies to launch coalition)
As their Coast supporters await their decision, the emergence of the Mombasa Republican Council, a secessionist group that appears bent on disrupting the elections, is causing anxiety.
The outlawed group has support in the rural areas and political observers say how their issues are handled will have a bearing on the voting pattern.
However, opinion is still divided on the impact of Mr Kenyatta, Mr Mudavadi and Mr Balala on that pattern.
Transport assistant minister Ali Hassan Joho, who is also ODM’s national organising secretary, says the trio is in a Catch-22 situation and whichever move they make will not of any consequence in the Coast.
“They are a cornered lot and, having realised this, two have retreated to their tribal cocoons for relevance,” he told the Sunday Nation in a telephone interview.
Mr Joho dismissed the three politicians as “irrelevant” saying ODM is the future and its leader Raila Odinga the answer to the nation’s problems.
But former Kisauni MP Anania Mwaboza believes the Uhuru-Mudavadi-Balala axis is a formidable force that will change the political matrix in the Coast and nationally.
“Everybody is waiting to see where Mudavadi goes and, whatever move he makes, it will play a pivotal role in the politics of not only this region but also elsewhere in the country,” Mr Mwaboza said.
“It will not be business as usual and any party interested to win the next General Election must form alliances to get the more than one million votes here.”
The Coast has lately seen a flurry of activities as presidential hopefuls woo voters. Planning assistant minister Peter Kenneth is already popularising his Kenya National Congress party in the region.
Mr Mudavadi is organising several meetings and a rally early next month.
The political battles shaping up in the country played out recently at the wedding of former Kenya National Commission on Human Rights commissioner Hassan Omar.
The wedding attracted political and business heavyweights in the coast, including Abubakar Joho, a brother of the Transport minister, Mohamed Jaffer of Grain Bulk Handlers Limited), Tahir Sheikh Said of TSS Group, David Langat and Geert Aagaard Anderson.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga attended it and former Kisauni MP Prof Rashid Mzee said the PM’s presence signalled new alliances that may seal Mr Balala’s political fate.