Confusion and uncertainty surround a meeting of Coast political leaders in Kwale County scheduled for Friday.
The summit was announced by Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi and his Mombasa counterpart Ali Hassan Joho when they held a meting with ward representatives from the six coastal counties in Mombasa last month.
During the meeting, the two said a follow-up meeting, bringing together governors, senators, MPs and ward representatives from the region would be held in Kwale on September 7.
They said the meeting would deliberate on the region's political future.
“We are focused on the region’s unity as we approach 2022. For now, the objective is to promote the economic prosperity of the Coast,” Governor Joho said.
Mr Kingi expressed his desire and commitment to unite the residents of Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River, Lamu and Taita-Taveta counties.
“This is only a process. We will decide on the formation of a political party after getting views from our people,” the Kilifi governor told the Members of County Assembly.
“We should not imagine that 2022 is far. How we approach the election year will be determined by how united we are.”
Contacted on Saturday, Mr Joho’s spokesman Richard Chacha said any communication on whether the meeting would take place will be articulated by Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya’s administration.
“It is usually the host county that outlines the programmes and issues to be discussed during such meetings. Such information can only come from Kwale and not Mombasa,” Mr Chacha told the Sunday Nation.
When called later, Kwale County information director Daniel Nyassy said he is yet to get information on the Friday meeting.
“The only information I have is of a meeting of senators that will take place in Kwale on September 4. I do not have particulars about the other meeting. I will communicate once I get the necessary details,” Mr Nyassy said.
Governors Joho and Kingi said the meeting would look for views on transforming the region’s fortunes following the revival of the Jumuiya Ya Kaunti za Pwani economic bloc.
Mr Joho visited former President Daniel arap Moi at his Kabarak home in Nakuru County last week. The visit has divided political leaders at the Coast.
MPs allied to Deputy President William Ruto have criticised the visit, accusing Mr Joho of “dining with those who oppressed and marginalised our region”.
WORDS OF WISDOM
Mombasa County official Idris Abdiraham — the governor’s former political adviser — said Mr Joho was in Kabarak to receive "words of wisdom from mzee Moi”.
Later in his statement, Mr Joho said he took the chance to get advice from Mr Moi on national issues.
He said the meeting revolved around driving forward the Building Bridges Initiative started by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga.
"A nation rarely gets the opportunity to look back and fix its problems. History tells us of countries that have gone down, but through the grace of God and the wisdom of Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta, we have a unique opportunity to change the future of Kenya," the governor said in his statement.
Pro-Ruto lawmakers poured cold water on the Kabarak visit, saying it might undermine his presidential bid.
Kilifi North MP Owen Baya said the Mombasa County boss did not seek the region’s blessing to work with Kanu chairman Gideon Moi.
“The governor might be pushing the region into a losing corner with this Building Bridges initiative,” Mr Baya said.
“For him to talk about the Coast, he needs to foster unity in the region. Before you attempt to repair a neighbour’s leaking roof, fix yours first.”
Magarini MP Michael Kingi said the region suffered badly during the Kanu era and that Governor Joho’s dalliance with the former President would backfire.
“We will only endorse their alliance if (Baringo) Senator Moi agrees to support him,” said Mr Kingi.
However, Kisauni MP Ali Mbogo said the Kabarak meeting was healthy “as it will ensure the region is represented in the next government”.
Ganze MP Teddy Mwambire, who accompanied Mr Joho to Kabarak, defended the tour.
“Does going to see a retired president need an endorsement? We cannot get to the leadership of this country without building our networks,” Mr Mwambire said.