Coast residents to reject August poll results if not fair, leaders say

Sunday March 26 2017

By LUCAS BARASA
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By MOHAMED AHMED
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By DANIEL TSUMA NYASSY
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Coast residents from six counties on Sunday resolved to back Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga for presidency in August polls.

In a declaration, read by Taita Taveta Governor John Mruttu, the Coast counties announced the area was an ODM base.

The declaration, read at a mammoth rally at Tononoka grounds attended by Mr Odinga said the six Coast counties were united due to their common history and marginalisation.

The declaration is also to help protect economic and natural resources in the region.

It says Coast residents will not accept August poll results if they are not free and fair.

The counties vouched for devolved system of government.

Although they supported National Super Alliance (Nasa), the declaration said, locals were in ODM.

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho said the declaration marks the beginning of Coast reawakening.

Mr Joho said the Jubilee administration was keen on impoverishing Coast residents.

The ODM deputy leader said it is Mr Odinga and President Mwai Kibaki who initiated the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) but Jubilee leadership inflated its costs.

He said Jubilee administration wanted to relocate dry port envisaged in Vision 2030 from Voi to Naivasha stating that transportation of goods using SGR will be more expensive than using Lorries.

ODM BEDROCK

He said jubilee’s interest was to kill godowns, container depots and transport industry to make Coast residents poorer.

He questioned President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto's claims that 500,000 people had been connected to electricity in Mombasa yet it's population is one million.

The power project, he said, was funded by World Bank.

"Only Mr Odinga could help uplift locals from poverty," Mr Joho said.

He declared the six Coast counties ODM bedrock.

Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi cited land as main problem at Coast despite 2010 Constitution. He said Jubilee administration had failed to address land issues claiming that the Jubilee administration sold land to Waitiki squatters.

According to him, all title deeds are supposed to be reviewed and illegal ones revoked for Coast residents to get back their land.

"Jubilee government has become thieves of land at the Coast," Mr Kingi said.

He accused Jubilee administration of failing to implement Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission and Ndung'u land reports.

He said top Jubilee Party leaders were beneficiaries of land at the Coast and could not address irregularities.

Mr Kingi said only Mr Odinga and ODM party could address land problems facing locals adding that the ODM leader was capable of sharing the national cake equally, unite Kenyans, end tribalism and create jobs.

"This is why Coast residents will die with Mr Odinga," Mr Kingi said.

Mr Mruttu said he was confident Mr Odinga will be elected President in August polls.

He said locals are not benefiting from minerals and national parks with major role being played by the national government.

Thousands of ODM supporters thronged Tononoka grounds in Mombasa where “Pwani Declaration” was made.

Mr Joho, Mr Kingi and Taita Taveta’s John Mruttu have been going round the six Coast counties pushing for Mr Odinga to be president and marketing the ODM party.

DISRUPTED RALLIES

Police disrupted the trio’s rallies in Kwale last Thursday. Jubilee Party supporters also pelted Mr Joho’s party with stones during a rally in Mpeketoni, Lamu County.

Today, the ODM supporters clad in orange T-shirts started streaming into the historic Tononoka grounds as early as 6am.

The enthusiastic crowd that welcomed Mr Odinga with shouts of “Baba” on Saturday also went round the town on Sunday singing songs in praise of the opposition chief and ODM.

Roads from Kongowea and Kisauni, sections of Sabasaba and Buxton were jammed with thousands of supporters heading to Tononoka.

At the venue, supporters of various aspirants tried to outdo one another with placards carrying pictures and names of their candidates.

The adjacent streets to the venue were no-go zones by midday.

There was heavy presence of security with GSU, AP and regular police patrolling the venue and nearby streets.

Other people took advantage of the mammoth crowd to do brisk business of selling ODM branded caps, T-shirts and portraits of Raila and Joho.

The rally comes two weeks after President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto held theirs at the same venue.