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Anxiety after Joho, Kingi meet to chart region’s political future

By Reuben Mwambingu
Wednesday, April 7th, 2021
From left: Governors Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Salim Mvurya (Kwale) and Amason Kingi (Kilifi) at Mvurya’s office in Kwale on Tuesday. Photo/PD/COURTESY
In summary

Secret meetings by governors Hassan Joho (Mombasa) and Amason Kingi (Kilifi) have raised eyebrows with insiders saying the duo could be angling to benefit from positions proposed in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

Their meetings are meant to build a network of trusted lieutenants who will ensure Coast region finds accommodation in government after the 2022 General Election.

 The latest was held last weekend at a palatial home in the suburbs of Nyali associated with Joho’s relative.

 “We discussed a variety of issues related to the agenda of the region,” said a source who attended the meeting which follows a renewed unity bid between Joho, Kingi and their Kwale counterpart Salim Mvurya.

“Kingi and Mvurya have been promised ministerial positions and Joho is likely to get the deputy prime minister post.

With that in mind, it is important for them to popularise BBI in the region. But considering Kingi and Joho have not been reading from the same script, we understand Mvurya has been trusted to mediate and that could be the reason he was the first to visit State House last month,” said a high profile source who sought anonymity.

Besides the meetings at the Coast, the three governors were hosted by President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House last month.

Last week, a section of Coast legislators accused the governors of sidelining them, saying they have been kept in the dark about the series of meetings by the trio.

“For now we don’t know as MPs what is going on with the three governors. Even if you look keenly, the governors who are meeting are three. It might be more welfare than political.

We had very good plans of uniting the region but later the governors went and held a meeting in Taita Taveta County and selected a chair but we hardly see him in the meetings,” said an MP from the Coast. 

Taita Taveta governor Granton Samboja is the chairman of the Coast bloc of county chiefs.

Mombasa senator Mohamed Faki also said he knows nothing about the meetings.

“So far we have not received any communication. We don’t know why the governors are meeting.

We don’t know whether they are meeting because of politics or because of Jumuiya ya County za Pwani.

But it is good that they are meeting because the Juimuiya ya County za Pwani was dormant. 

If they are meeting because they are outgoing, it is also good for them to plan their retirement. Maybe they are exchanging notes for their retirement.”

Strong political positions

Three have held strong different positions with Mvurya supporting Deputy President William Ruto while Kingi and Joho have been in Opposition chief Raila Odinga’s corner. 

While Joho has been rallying Coast residents to remain in the Orange Democratic Movement where he is the deputy party leader, Kingi has been pushing for formation of a party with roots from the region. 

 On March 23, photos emerged of Governor Mvurya and his Deputy Fatma Achani visiting President Uhuru  at State House fueling speculations that the governor  could be tilting towards the  Handshake team.

A week later the three governors posted photos showing them together at Kwale.

The meetings bringing together the three leaders have been shrouded in secrecy.

“When they went to the statehouse we were not even aware. We only saw the photos and in the meeting here in Kwale we were nowhere close. However we cannot rule out 2022 politics because that must attract their interest.

We also feel it has got something to do with the referendum. But let’s wait and see how it pans out,” said an official within Governor Mvurya circles.

Mvurya campaigned aggressively for Ruto’s candidate Feisal Bader who won the Msambweni by-election last year, in a grueling duel against ODM’s Omar Boga that appeared to widen rifts between Joho and Mvurya.

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