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Kingi’s newfound liberation crusade unsettles ODM zone

By , People Daily Digital
Thursday, September 2nd, 2021 00:00 | 3 mins read
Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi holds a homemade ball that he uses as a symbol of Coast unity. Photo/PD/REUBEN MWAMBINGU

Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi has been among the vocal leaders passionately calling for liberation of Coastal People from ‘political and land historical injustices.’

Kingi, who has in the recent past been a key and outspoken Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) advocate in the region, has sparked political debate in Coast with his change of tune that saw him exit the party to pursue an agenda of Coast unity whose face he has become.

When he first triggered the conversation about Coast unity, the Kilifi governor introduced the word Tufe, a Mijikenda word referring to homemade balls designed by boys using the most improbable materials such as paper, plastic, strings, socks and rags and bark, in the most ingenious ways, to symbolise Coast unity.

Competing teams

At a meeting Kingi narrated a story of a boy in school who took time to design a ball using rags with the intention of endearing fellow classmates during break time to play the Tufe together.

At break time, classmates would gather at the school playground where the Tufe owner would quickly co-ordinate the composition of two competing teams.

“Surprisingly, all players will queue behind him as the owner of the Tufe. Logic being he owns the ball and the game.

Mwenye Tufe kachengwa,” added Kingi in Giriama dialect meaning one cannot offend the owner of the ball lest he takes away the ball and declares the game over.

The Tufe analogy, Kingi concluded, is in close resemblance to how Kenyan political parties are managed where owners of political parties will always dictate how the political ball game is played.

It is against this backdrop that Kingi has maintained his resolve to pursue Coast unity by forming a Coast party saying it is the only way to end  “political squatterdom” in the region.

In a recent address at Mariakani Kilifi County, Kingi said the push for Coastal outfit is “a demand of the common mwananchi at the Coast.”

“Mine is to ask you fellow leaders that lets stick together because if we don’t do it, it will be done by another generation.

I know there will be a generation that will rise and say enough is enough.”

Kingi said as the region struggles to come out of land squatterdom, it is imperative to also fight to come out of “political squatterdom.”

Early this year, ODM leader Raila Odinga and Kingi differed openly over formation of a Coast political outfit.

Kingi dismissed Raila’s view that formation of Coast based party could threaten national unity as double standards, considering that formation of parties has been a common phenomenon in other regions outside Coast.

He was reacting to remarks made by Raila during his tour at the Coast where he said formation of a regional party would only “dismember Kenya.”

Raila challenged Kingi and company to ship-out if they felt disgruntled at ODM and form their own with national outlook.

Competing teams

“I saw Wiper and Narc coming together. Kalonzo Musyoka and Charity Ngilu are coming together to strengthen the unity of their region. 

Theirs is not considered a threat to national unity but for us it is viewed as a threat to national unity. Double speak, double standards,” said Kingi.

According to the governor, the problem of land injustice was brought by perpetrators but “political squatterdom” at the Coast is a self-inflicted problem.

“Every day we say we want Coast unity but when the election time comes you see leaders pulling different directions because we are squatters. And when it comes to voting we are divided. This must stop,” he said.

While some have dismissed Kingi’s Tufe campaign as a quest to remain politically relevant, some observers argue that Kingi’s is pursuing an agenda driven by founding Coast politicians like Ronald Ngala.

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