Date set for talks on forming Coast party
The talks, to be held at the Swahili Beach Hotel on Sunday and Monday, have been convened by rebel ODM MP Gideon Mung’aro, who is also the chairman of Coast Parliamentary Group.
It will be chaired by Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya.
The decision to call the meeting comes against a backdrop of informal talks by leaders and professionals from the region seeking to redefine their place in the country’s politics and how to spur development in the region.
The latest such meeting involved Mining Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, Mr Mung’aro, Lunga Lunga MP Khatib Mwashetani and nominated MP Fatuma Mohamed.
Wednesday, Mr Mvurya and Mr Mung’aro said all governors, senators, MPs, women representatives and majority and minority leaders from all the six Coast counties had been invited.
ADDRESS KEY ISSUES
“The forum will seek to address key issues ailing the region including unity, politics, social and youth agenda, devolution, creation of a regional economic block, the state of security and engaging national and international institutions for the transformation of the region,” a statement sent to media houses said.
The meeting is being viewed as a culmination of the Dabaso Declaration reached by leaders at Dabaso, Mr Mung’aro’s home in Kilifi, during his homecoming party, early this year.
Leaders at that ceremony unveiled a plan for the formation of a Coast-based party, saying the region had received a raw deal from parties formed elsewhere which they accused of exploiting Coast leaders to ascend to power.
Although Mr Mung’aro — who is seen as the leading architect of the plan — neither answered our telephone calls nor answered questions sent to him by SMS yesterday, he is on record as having led the push for the formation of a Coast party.
Mr Balala has in the past offered his Republican Congress (RC) party to Coast leaders.
In a recent interview at Bahari Beach Hotel, Mr Mung’aro said: “Things will never be the same again in Coast.
“We have consulted everybody and gave the mandate to Coast professionals to digest the issue of forming our party including its name.
“They will come up with the name at an appropriate time.”
He has in the recent past been criss-crossing the Coast, holding meetings with various leaders, the last one being last Saturday when he met Taita Taveta leaders at Voi.
“Even if we will not be in the next government, we will make sure that we have a stake because we have the numbers,” he said.
“This region has been used by others to achieve political goals while our people suffer.”
According to Wednesday’s statement, facilitators were listed as respected academicians from the region among them the Vice-Chancellor of Pwani University, Prof Mohamed Said Rajab, the Vice Chancellor of Umma University, Prof Shaukat Abdulrazak, his Technical University of Mombasa counterpart, Prof Josphat Mwatela and the Principal of the Taita Taveta University College (JKUAT), Prof Hamadi Iddi Boga.
Said the statement: “Our unity as leaders will only serve to benefit our people who have been marginalised for a very long time.
“This is an opportunity to ignite economic and political transformation to enhance our united front for the progress of the region.
“It is paramount that we work together as a region in order to capitalise on each other’s strength for our overall progress.
“In this meeting we intend to create a bond that will unite us on all pertinent issues especially creating hope for our youth.”
The deteriorating relationship between Cord and the Coast region, which overwhelmingly voted for the opposition in last year’s general elections, suffered a blow in July when Mr Mung’aro was dropped as Minority Chief Whip and replaced with Wundanyi MP Thomas Mwadeghu.
ODM at the time accused the Kilifi North MP of leaning towards Jubilee and “being too friendly to President Uhuru Kenyatta”.
The Jubilee leadership has since made major in-roads at the Coast with several leaders embracing the ruling coalition, a move that has left the region divided politically.
Kwale County Woman Representative Zainab Chidzuga, Mr Mwashetani, Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir, Mr Mung’aro, Kilifi Woman Representative Asha Jumwa and other leaders from the region have variously been branded as traitors or “rebels” for openly working with the Jubilee Government and defying warnings from Orange House to desist from doing so.