Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho’s 2022 presidential bid has been boosted by endorsements by several members of parliament (MPs) in the coastal region.
The endorsements came after a meeting in the county of opinion leaders in the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).
Mr Joho, who is ODM's deputy leader, has been guaranteed support in his backyard in the race for the presidency come the 2022 general election.
The Coast region has about 1.7 million votes and has always voted for the opposition.
Last week, ODM MP's from the region said they will back the governor's bid should ODM leader Raila Odinga not vie.
Speaking during a fund raising event at Bomu Stadium in Changamwe, the politicians termed Mr Joho the next best option.
They included Ken Chonga (Kilifi South), Mishi Mboko (Likoni), Zulekha Hassan (Kwale Woman Representative), Omar Mwinyi (Changamwe) and Teddy Mwambire (Ganze).
“Those saying Raila will not contest should keep dreaming. If Baba (Raila) will not vie then we know who the right choice for us is - none other than governor Joho,” Mr Chonga said.
Ms Mboko said no one has the authority to dictate Mr Raila’s political future.
But she added that Governor Joho has also shown he is capable of going for the top seat “and we have to support him".
"Joho is loved across the country so we as the coastal people should stand by him and Mr Odinga," she said.
Ms Mboko also spoke about the handshake between Mr Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta, saying it has helped Kenya deal with its challenges.
"The issue of corruption is among them. For those who have been playing with our funds ... yours days are numbered. We trust the unity between Mr Odinga and Mr Kenyatta will help with the menaces Kenyans are facing," she said.
Ms Hassan said Mr Joho’s ambition for the presidency has given other politicians hope.
She called for a rotational presidency, “so that we can all feel we are part of this great country".
“I have taken a bill to the parliament seeking to have a rotational presidency. I am hopeful that it will be adopted. This will help make everyone proud of this country."
Mr Mwambire said an all-inclusive government is not a choice for Kenyans.
During the opinion leaders meeting at Wild Waters in Mombasa, the governor said his plan is not a joke and that should he fail, it will be at the presidential ballot.
He told a meeting of at least 1,000 people that his success depended on their support.
“Instead of embracing the national handshake, we must also have our own coast handshake and forge ahead in development. Leadership has responsibilities ... we need each other as we push for unity," he said.
"We are going for the top seat so you must support us. If you will not, we shall soldier on. We are unstoppable in this route. We are not going for any other posts my friend."
The latter remark was in apparent reference to Kilifi North MP Owen Baya, who said he was working on a bill for the deputy president to always be from the coastal region.
Since the March 9 handshake, Deputy President William Ruto has made several trips to the region to amass support ahead of the next poll.
Legislators who have decided to support him have been termed rebels.
Among them is the Coast Parliamentary Group (CPG) chairman Suleiman Dori. The Msambweni MP and his Malindi counterpart Aisha Jumwa have been summoned by ODM to explain their associations with the DP.