The expulsion of Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa from the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) for disloyalty has elicited mixed reactions among residents.
Ms Jumwa was expelled today after the National Governing Council approved a decision by the party's disciplinary team to kick out the MP for going against the party's wishes.
She publicly said she is backing Deputy President William Ruto's 2022 presidential bid, which Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna termed as gross misconduct.
The disciplinary team also wanted Msambweni MP Suleiman Dori expelled, but he was spared after apologising to the party. He is required to explain his actions before the council within 60 days.
Those in support of the embattled MP said they are not worried about a possible by-election since Ms Jumwa is popular and will retain her seat in any party she chooses to vie with.
Kakuyuni MCA Nixon Muramba and his Jilore counterpart Daniel Chiriba celebrated the move, terming it historic.
They said Ms Jumwa had undermined her party's leaders.
"Mama Aisha Jumwa, we told you to stop undermining the party and its leadership. The decision restates that the party must be respected," Mr Muramba said.
He added that if a by-election is held an ODM candidate will win. "If she is strong let her not go to court to delay the by-election, but instead come to the ground and prove her popularity."
On the other hand, Mr Phillip Charo, who lost to Ms Jumwa in last year's polls, urged residents not to stir up tension, which is likely to affect business in the resort town.
Mr Charo said the ODM decision is an internal one and should not be used to divide residents.
"I'll announce the party I shall use to vie for the seat once the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission declares the seat vacant," he said.
Ms Rehema Ali, a staunch supporter of Ms Jumwa, said the lawmaker has sacrificed a lot for the party, recalling an incident when she was arrested and detained by police over hate speech in 2016.
Ms Ali urged the party to reconsider its decision, arguing that a by-election will hurt the tourism industry.
"We had Shella ward by-election that was followed by Malindi by-election after area MP Dan Kazungu was appointed Mining Cabinet Secretary. The looming by-election will scare away tourists and hurt our economy."
Ms Merab Shibuyanga said the party is curtailing members' democratic rights. "Why is the party contravening the rights of Ms Jumwa and the people who elected her? The move to expel the MP from the party to have a by-election is out of selfish interest."
She said Ms Jumwa has a good development record, and has been a defender of the welfare of youth, women and children.