Raila dilemma in gubernatorial races on the coast

ODM leader Raila Odinga with Mombasa Governor Hassan Ali Joho during a stopover in Tudor, Mombasa County, March 4, 2021. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

ODM leader Raila Odinga faces a major dilemma in the Coastal Governor’s races.

Counties Mombasa, Kwale, Taita Taveta and Kilifi are considered Raila’s strongholds and have all attracted political heavyweights battling for party ticket.

With the party planning staggered primary elections, Raila finds himself in a political dilemma on how to conduct the exercise and avoid possible repercussions afterwards.

As his stronghold, free and fair primaries are key to ensuring he continues to enjoy support.

Tana River and Lamu counties are less populous and voters more independent.

There is already nervousness among candidates for the party ticket, who are demanding a free and fair nomination process.

During the ODM National Delegates Congress, the party approved four methods of identifying its candidates: direct nomination, consensus, delegate voting, and universal suffrage.

Most contenders, however, prefer universal suffrage, claiming it ensures fairness.

In Mombasa, the battle to succeed Mr. Hassan Joho has attracted four candidates. They are Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir, businessman Suleiman Shahbal, Ali Mbogo of Kisauni and Deputy Governor Mr. William Kingi.

Suleiman Shahbal addresses the press in Mombasa, September 2020. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

Mr Nassir, whose rivalry with Mr Shabhal has intensified in recent years, yesterday insisted only the primaries would determine the winner.

“We are ready, ODM members in Mombasa should be given the opportunity to decide who will be their next governor, may the best team win,” Mr. Nassir said.

Four candidates have lined up to succeed Amason Kingi across Kilifi, including immediate former Devolution CAS Gideon Mung’aro, Speaker Jimmy Kahindi, Kenyan High Commissioner for Tanzania Dan Kazungu and Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi.

Like Mombasa, Mr. Mung’aro and Mr. Kahindi have both called for the nomination to be decided by members. Both Mung’aro and Kazungu returned to ODM after five years at the Jubilee Party.

In the race for Taita Taveta, Governor Granton Samboja, who is running for a second term through ODM, faces Mwatate MP Andrew Mwadime.

Mr Samboja was elected on the Wiper list in 2017, while Mwadime is a two-year MP for Mwatate and a close confidant of Raila.

The Kwale gubernatorial contest has attracted four contenders, led by former Agriculture Minister Prof Hamadi Boga, Agnes Zani, County Spokesman Sammy Ruwa and Chai Lung’anzi.

Prof. Boga last week asked ODM to give him the party card. “The party does not have to be involved in the primaries, I am the popular contender, they should agree on me because I will deliver the win,” Prof Boga said.

Meanwhile, Defense Cabinet Secretary Mr. Eugene Wamalwa, DAP-Kenya Chairman Mr. Wafula Wamunyinyi and Kisii Senator Prof. Sam Ongeri have stated that President Uhuru Kenyatta is right in calling for the ODM leader fights.

Mr Wamalwa, Mr Wamunyinyi and Prof Ongeri were speaking at Nyanturago Stadium in Kisii County yesterday as the latter presented his bid for the seat of the Governor of Kisii in DAP-Kenya.

Kisii Senator Sam Ongeri. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

The three said the President had figured out that Mr Raila was the best candidate to succeed him and that no one should blame him for arranging his successor as he wanted the best for the country.

Defense CS told Kenyans that the President knows all the country’s leaders and he could not be wrong in choosing Mr Raila as the next head of state.

He said other outgoing presidents around the world have done the same.

“President Uhuru Kenyatta made history for choosing his rival as his successor in the last three elections. He must have seen some good qualities in Raila Odinga to want him as his successor. We stand behind our President wholeheartedly,” Wamalwa said.

Wamunyinyi told Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka to accept that One Kenya Alliance died when ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford’s Moses Wetang’ula left Kenya to join the Kenya Kwanza Alliance.

He called on Mr Kalonzo to join Azimio la Umoja without conditions and to accept any position given to him by the coalition when the next government is formed, as there are many opportunities for the leaders of all constituent parties

Mr Wamalwa and Mr Wamunyinyi implored Kisii County residents to vote for Prof Ongeri as their next governor as he is the most qualified candidate to succeed Governor James Ongwae.

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