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Which way Coast? ODM legislators plot to ditch Raila for regional party

Wednesday July 29 2020
baya

Kilifi North MP Owen Baya, one of the champions of the new political outfit. He said sitting MPs, including those in Jubilee and other parties, have met several times to discuss the agenda. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By CHARLES LWANGA

Coast politicians, a majority of them members of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), are in the final stages of forming a party ahead of the 2022 General Election.

They said the new party will give the region a stronger bargaining power in crucial national matters such as discussions on the proposed revenue allocation formula and formation of parliamentary leadership.

According to sources, Coast ODM lawmakers have been meeting to execute the plans to form the new party, signalling their plans to ditch the Raila Odinga-led outfit.

A number of elected leaders have expressed disappointment with the Orange party after it failed to appoint them to lead parliamentary committees.

REVENUE SHARING

This week, Mr Odinga’s decision to support the third basis of sharing county revenue, which will see Coast and North Eastern counties lose money, further angered the leaders more.

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Kilifi North MP Owen Baya, one of the champions of the new political outfit, said sitting MPs, including those in Jubilee and other parties, have met several times to discuss the agenda.

The legislator, a close ally of Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi, said the party will be launched before the 2022 polls and will bring on board all other existing coastal political outfits.

“I can tell you without fear or a shadow of doubt that we are ready with a political party. It is just a matter of time ... of when we can launch and start branding it,” he said.

COAST PARTIES

The region has Kadu-Asili, Shirikisho Party of Kenya, Umoja Summit Political Party of Kenya, Devolution Party of Kenya and National Liberal Party among others.

This comes at a time when the gubernatorial terms of two ODM pointmen in Coast — Mr Kingi and Mombasa governor Hassan Joho — are coming to an end. Mr Joho is the ODM deputy party leader alongside Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya. When contacted, Mr Kingi was reluctant to give his position on the new party, saying he will comment as things unfold.

Coast Parliamentary Group (CPG) chairman Said Hirbae, who is also the Galole MP, confirmed the plans but said they are still consulting.

“We have not taken any direction concerning the matter but discussions are ongoing. Coast region has 41 elective posts, which is a big number, and if united we will increase our bargaining power,” said Mr Hirbae.

Last week, Mr Baya and defiant ODM Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa seemed to have made up their mind to push for the formation of the party.

The two legislators openly criticised the ODM party and called on the region to ditch Mr Odinga’s camp.

CRYSTALLISE PLAN

The Kilifi North MP has revealed that several senators and MPs under the CPG have been meeting to crystallise the plan which enjoys the backing of other senior politicians in the region.

“The party targets to get 30 parliamentary seats, at least five or six senators and about five governor seats in the coast. We are welcoming other regions of like mind such as North Eastern, which has 32 MP slots, so that we can join up as regions that have been marginalised for many years and have over 60 seats in Parliament,” he said.

Last week, Ms Jumwa accompanied by Senator Stewart Madzayo and his nominated counterpart Christine Zawadi attended the burial of the mother of Kakuyuni MCA Nixon Mramba at Madunguni and condemned ODM party for leaving out Coast MPs in the parliamentary committee leadership positions.

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