New bid for Mijikenda unity announced at cultural festival

The nine tribes want to have a greater say in national politics, with their own party.

Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi (left) and other leaders join traditional dancers during the “Chenda Chenda” festival at the Karia Maitha Grounds in Kilifi town on September 10, 2018. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

IN SUMMARY

  • Mr Kingi said the region is seeking political and economic unity to enable it to speak with one voice.
  • Governor Kingi said unity of the Mijikenda was paramount since it will help them win the other communities’ support.
  • But the Coast also has upcountry settlers from the Kikuyu, Luhya, Kamba, Luo, Meru, Kisii and Embu communities.

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The nine Mijikenda tribes have launched a unity initiative ahead of the 2022 elections.

On Sunday, Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi, flanked by eight MPs, led the Chenda Chenda Festival at the Karisa Maitha Grounds in Kilifi to celebrate Mijikenda culture and unite the community.

The leaders also aim at ensuring that the Mijikenda, who have more than 1 million registered voters combined — perhaps the biggest bloc at the Coast — form their own party to enable them to bargain for power in the 2022 elections.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Kingi said the region is seeking political and economic unity to enable it to speak with one voice.

“This day marks the beginning of Coast unity. The importance of the Mijikenda must be recognised, as well as the unity of the Coastal people,” he said.

DIVERSE CULTURAL ACTIVITIES

The festival, organised by Mijikenda kaya elders, showcased the diverse cultural activities of the nine tribes, believed to be the original inhabitants of the larger Coast region. All the nine tribes were represented and came in their traditional gear.

The governor said unity of the Mijikenda was paramount since it will help them win the other communities’ support.

He said their priority is to unite the Mijikenda in Kilifi and Kwale before bringing on board other communities in Lamu, Tana River and Taita-Taveta counties.

“We will then go to all corners of the Coast to unite with Pokomos, Wardei, Oromos, Taitas, Tavetas and the people of Lamu,” he said.

But the Coast also has upcountry settlers from the Kikuyu, Luhya, Kamba, Luo, Meru, Kisii and Embu communities.

Meanwhile, the legislators, who said Governor Kingi was their leader, said it was time they had their own vehicle to push the agenda for 2022 politics, which could be achieved only through regional unity.

VOTED OVERWHELMINGLY

Other leaders at the event were Coast Parliamentary Group chairman Suleiman Dori, Parliamentary Service Commissioner and Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa, and Kilifi North MP Owen Baya, among others.

Ms Jumwa said the region has not benefited from the opposition National Super Alliance Coalition (Nasa) despite having voted for it overwhelmingly in the 2017 General Election.

“We are usually left out during the sharing of slots after an election because we do not have our own party,” she said, adding “We command 80 percent of the votes (at the Coast) and the time is coming when we will tell you who our flag bearer will be.”

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