The mainstream political parties fronting candidates in the Malindi National Assembly seat by-election have shifted focus from individual aspirants and are now going for each other’s jugular in the campaigns.
The March 7 poll is a heated affair with senior politicians from both sides camping in Malindi to woo the voters to their candidates Phillip Charo of Jubilee Alliance Party (JAP) and William Mtengo of the Orange Democratic Party.
Mr Charo is a former banker while Mr Mtengo had worked with Kenya Ports Authority.
While Jubilee politicians tried to paint their Cord opponents as leaders engaging in empty talk and rhetoric, in their campaigns, the Opposition has been blaming the Jubilee government for the development challenges facing the constituency.
Led by ODM Deputy Party leader and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and his Kilifi counterpart Amason Kingi, the Cord politicians have been painting the Jubilee administration as having failed to develop Malindi and most parts of Coast region.
However, the Jubilee team has been singling out projects initiated recently by the government and pledges made by President Uhuru Kenyatta when he visited the constituency last month.
These include the construction and rehabilitation of the key Malindi-Sala Gate Road, which links Malindi with Tsavo East National Park and Voi.
“These are some of the projects the Jubilee government has in the pipeline for Malindi.
“What has Cord done for the people of Kilifi?’’ National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale posed, during a rally at Alaskan grounds.
However, Mr Joho’s group dismissed this, arguing that it was the responsibility of the national government to carry out development across the country.
“If it is the tarmacking of the Malindi-Sala gate, it does not need any political goodwill. That is the work of the national government and it is wrong for Jubilee to use it as a political weapon,” retorted Kakamega senator Dr Boni Khalwale yesterday.
Other candidates in the race are Reuben Mwamure (Kadu Asili), Attas Sharrif (Labour Party), David Mangi (Shirikisho Party), Nelson Gunga (Federal Party) and Peter Ponda (Chama Cha Uzalendo-CCU).
The seat fell vacant after MP Dan Kazungu was appointed as Mining Cabinet Secretary by President Kenyatta.