Two MPs allied to Mombasa governor Hassan Joho have hit back at their colleagues who are fronting Deputy President William Ruto for the region’s support, accusing them of undermining unity and development.
Mr Teddy Mwambire (Ganze) and Omar Mwinyi (Changamwe), who spoke on the telephone separately, described their colleagues as traitors and publicity seekers.
“They are behaving like traitors and we have learnt to ignore their actions. We have looked at how they behave while with the DP at the Coast and there is nothing to show that they have the people's interests at heart,” said Mr Mwambire.
Mr Mwinyi said the MPs should be fighting to have more Coast people hired at the Kenya Ports Authority and the Kenya Maritime Authority.
“Visits by the DP are usually arranged by the MPs allied to him so that they can seek political mileage. What we are currently seeing is not national activities or projects being undertaken but they are visits to drum up support for a certain individual in 2022 General Election,” said Mr Mwinyi.
Mr Mwambire, who is also the Kilifi ODM vice-chairman, has not attended any of Mr Ruto's meetings at the coast, saying he does not understand what they seek to achieve.
“The unity of the region is supreme before anything and anyone going against the call for coastal political unity is a mere traitor who should be ignored. We have ignored them before and we will continue doing so,” said Mr Mwambire.
The two MPs said it was wrong to engage the electorate on succession politics when deep-seated grievances such as unemployment are unresolved.
“Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) is in our area and yet we cannot have our own people working there. We have the Kenya Maritime Authority, Kenya Airports Authority and the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) but our people are not there. These are grievances that must be raised with the DP,” Mr Mwinyi said.
He defended Mr Joho’s absence at the DP’s events, saying they were mere “political campaign visits." He contrasted them with President Uhuru Kenyatta's Coast tours, which he described as development-related and gave the example of the recent launch of the Sh11 billion Dongo Kundu bypass.
"The President did not talk about 2022 politics but concentrated on development. That is what we want and not political campaigns at this moment,” said Mr Mwinyi.
ODM Mombasa branch chairman Mohammed Hatimy said the region will not be shaken by the MPs' support for Mr Ruto or their demands that Mr Joho joins the DP's camp.
On Saturday, a group of MPs told Mr Joho to work with them if he wanted to remain relevant in politics and suggested that he joins forces with Mr Ruto. Mr Joho has himself declared interest in the presidency in 2022.
Coast Parliamentary Group chairman Suleiman Dori, who is also Msambweni MP, said it would be difficult for the governor to ascend to the presidency without the support of elected leaders.
The DP has been visiting the Coast to cash in on the March 9 handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Premier Raila Odinga.
The region has for long been hostile to Jubilee and it voted overwhelmingly for the opposition last year and in previous elections.
Mr Joho, who is serving his last term as governor and who is ODM’s deputy Party Leader, has been angling to inherit the fanatical support his party leader Mr Odinga enjoys in the area.
But the handshake has seen his allies, some of whom he helped get elected, joining Mr Ruto's camp.
Although Mr Joho says he supports the peace deal between Mr Odinga and President Kenyatta, he has mainly embraced the Central Kenya wing of Jubilee.
The governor attended President Kenyatta’s launch of Dongo Kundu bypass phase one but he has skipped Mr Ruto's eight meetings.