Coast MPs defy Cord on axing Gideon Mung’aro
In a statement that was also supported by Jubilee Coalition MPs from the region, the MPs said Tuesday’s joint Cord Parliamentary Group meeting, which was chaired by party leader Raila Odinga and which resolved to remove Mr Mung’aro was unfair.
“Mung’aro has every right to be heard and the decision made yesterday was unlawful and discriminatory,” said the 20 MPs in a statement read by their Mvita counterpart, Mr Abdulswamad Nassir.
“This position was not a favour. We earned it by our numbers in the National Assembly… If there is a problem with the leadership in the House, let it be addressed as a problem of the leadership,” said Mr Nassir.
The decision to drop Mr Mung’aro was based on the perception that he had contributed to Cord’s poor performance in the House by failing to rally Opposition MPs as a Whip.
EARLIER ATTEMPT THWARTED
Leaders at the Tuesday meeting also accused him of being absent.
On Wednesday, Mr Nassir said that when the matter was raised during the meeting at Boma Hotel in Nairobi, he insisted that Mr Mung’aro should not be discussed in his absence as that would be unfair.
“I said we’re not going to run this party on the basis of this one said this and this one said the other,” he said.
An attempt to remove Mr Mung’aro earlier in the year was thwarted after Coast MPs refused to nominate a replacement for him and threatened to ditch the coalition.
The latest expression of confidence by the Coast MPs is likely to cement Mr Mung’aro’s image as a political heavyweight in the region.
The MPs said the decision to stand by Mr Mung’aro was made by the Coast Parliamentary Group, which met at the Small Dining Room in Parliament. Interestingly, the Jubilee Deputy Majority Leader, Dr Naomi Shabaan, attended.
About half an hour into the meeting, Mombasa County MP Mishi Mboko and Nyali MP Hezron Awiti were escorted out after apparently differing with their colleagues. The two skipped the Press conference.
Dr Shabaan also skipped the press conference. Jubilee was represented by MPs Ali Wario (Bura, TNA), Ibrahim Sane (Garsen, URP), Hassan Dukicha (Galole, UDF) and Peter Shehe (Ganze, UDF).
“We elected Mr Mung’aro chairman of the Coast Parliamentary Group before he became the Chief Whip,” said Mr Sane. Mr Nassir said the meeting and the joint appearance at the press conference at Parliament was a manifestation of the new-found unity among Coast MPs.
“We’re coming up strongly as a region to state our stand,” he said.
Mr Mustafa Idd (Kilifi South, ODM) said: “That seat is our right and if one of us is removed, we’re ready to go down with him. We have been discriminated against for too long.”
Earlier, Wundanyi MP Thomas Mwadeghu and Changamwe’s Omar Mwinyi had been floated as the possible replacement for the Kilifi North MP but it could not be established whether they had declared interest in the position.
The MPs resolved to retain Mr Mung’aro for the position.
“Our coalition and party leader should not listen to few individuals without giving the accused a hearing before resorting to any action that can be seen to be skewed,” Mr Idd said.
He said that any attempt to isolate any of the Coast leaders would not be taken kindly by the entire leadership of the region.
During the Cord Parliamentary Group meeting, Coast leaders Aisha Jumwa Katana (Kilifi) and Zainab Chidzuga (Kwale) and Lunga Lunga MP Khatib Mwashetani (Ford Kenya) were criticised for allegedly leaning towards the government.
The coalition resolved that any of its leaders who showed disloyalty would face severe sanctions.