Amason Kingi dumps Joho, makes peace with DP Ruto
The political tide at the Coast has taken a new twist with one of the region’s kingpins extending a hand of friendship to Deputy President William Ruto, signalling an end to a hostile relationship going back to 2013.
Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi, who together with his Mombasa counterpart Hassan Joho have been the main opposition pointmen in the region, turned out to welcome Mr Ruto on Tuesday during the third Annual Legislative Summit.
It was the first time Mr Kingi was exchanging pleasantries with the DP in public since he and Mr Joho never saw eye to eye with Jubilee Party stalwarts since the 2013 polls.
The ODM duo have also been criticizing and keeping off President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Ruto’s public meetings at the Coast as they fought to lock out Jubilee from the region.
Through their efforts, ODM collected most of the votes in coast populous counties — Kilifi and Mombasa — in the 2013 and 2017 elections, denying Jubilee all the elective slots including for members of county assemblies.
On Tuesday, Mr Kingi who has been giving the ruling party sleepless nights, accompanied Mr Ruto to distribute relief food in Tana River and Kilifi Counties, signalling a change of political tune and a sign of things to come.
Just like Mr Ruto’s supporters, Mr Kingi has shown lukewarm support to the political pact between President Kenyatta and Nasa leader Raila Odinga, saying he would only fully support it if it was of direct benefit to his community. Mr Joho has however welcomed the handshake and called on Coast voters to back the deal.
FORM OWN PARTY
The governor, a lawyer by profession and who is serving his second and last term, has indicated he will form his own party to field a presidential and other candidates in the 2022 elections.
His ally, Mr Joho, has however been keen on inheriting his boss, Mr Raila Odinga’s support base in ODM. Mr Joho is ODM’s deputy Party Leader and has also shown interest in the top seat.
Mr Kingi has also slowed down on his push for secession of the coast to protest marginalisation and electoral injustice.
The failure by Nasa to clinch the presidency in last year’s elections and the Uhuru-Raila handshake has scuttled opposition unity at the coast, opening up room for Jubilee to penetrate the six counties.
Some of the Nasa MPs including Malindi’s Aisha Jumwa have also backed Mr Ruto’s presidential ambitions.
Two political axis are also emerging with Mr Joho and Mr Kingi’s supporters jostling on who should be the region’s political kingpin. Before the Uhuru-Raila political deal, Mr Joho was seen as the undisputed Coast political boss.
On Tuesday, a photo of Mr Kingi and Mr Ruto shaking hands at Pride Inn Hotel went viral, receiving varied reactions.
After opening the MCAs/Senators meeting, Mr Ruto and Mr Kingi boarded the same chopper to Tana River before heading to Kilifi.
While addressing Tana River residents, Governor Kingi said after the formation of the coast party, the region will have to look for support from other parts of the country to realise the dream of a local politician occupying State House.
He said the 1.7 million vote bloc at the Coast will not be enough to have someone from the region elected President.
“Even if we use our vote bloc to make our son President, he cannot be a President of this country. Now that means that after we are united as the Coast, we will have to sit down for talks with other regions which share the same vision with us.”
By KAZUNGU SAMUEL