May 23rd 2017

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Mwakwere switches to ODM and joins gubernatorial race to replace Kwale governor Mvurya

Mwakwere has not officially announced his defection, but sources close to him have intimated to the Kenya Free Press his resolution to decamp to ODM. He was represented at the rally by former Kenya Ports Authority managing director Simeon Mkalla.

By Free Press Reporternewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comTuesday, 27 Sep 2016 14:31 EAT

ODM leader Raila Odinga confers with the party's director of elections Junet Mohamed as Kwale Senator Juma Boy (centre) listens during the rally in Kwale.

Six politicians, among them former cabinet minister Chirau Mwakwere, who is currently serving as Kenya's ambassador to Tanzania, will vie for the ODM ticket  following the defection of Governor Salim Mvurya to Jubilee. The six, including in Mwakwere's case his representative, were paraded by party leader Raila Odinga at Kwale Baraza Park during a political rally last Friday.

Mwakwere has not officially announced his defection, but sources close to him have intimated to the Kenya Free Press his resolution to decamp to ODM. He was represented at the rally by former Kenya Ports Authority managing director Simeon Mkalla. Others aspiring for the seat include current Kwale County Assembly Speaker Sammy Ruwa, Nicholas Zani, Issa Chipera, Gereza Dena, and Mohammed Mwarapayo.

Mr Odinga endorsed their candidature on ODM ticket and urged them to unite and battle out peacefully during the party’s primaries before facing it off with Mvurya, who will now vie on the Jubilee Party ticket. He promised that the governor would be taught a lesson in 2017. The aspirants agreed to engage in a peaceful campaign and whoever wins during the nominations to be supported by others.

Raila, who met various delegations before the rally, took time to address allegations that there was bad blood between him and his CORD co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetangula. He assured the gathering that all affiliate parties would agree on how to nominate candidates for various seats to fight out with their Jubilee counterparts. However, it was for Mvurya that his main comments were reserved.

The CORD leader said Mvurya had betrayed his own supporters by defecting to a party that had no following in the region. He said Kwale County remains an ODM zone and dared those who have defected, who also include the local women representative Zainab Chidzuga, to be ready for a thrashing warning that they had dug their own political graves.

Speaking at the same function, Mombasa governor Hassan Joho repeated the same warning to the defectors, predicting that they would suffer fate similar to what befell former Cabinet Secretaries, Kazungu Kambi, Charity Ngilu, and Mwakwere among others. “Expect to see those who defected with governor Mvurya, among them Lunga Lunga MP Khatib Mwashetani, Chidzuga, Kilifi North MP Gideon Mung’aro and his KIlifi South counterpart Mustafa Iddi being referred to as former so and so after the 2017 polls,” he said.

Joho was categorical that Coastal people don't trust Jubilee to protect their interests, predicting the party will not receive significant votes from the region in the next general elections. “The talk by people that they are joining the government to have development initiated in their respective areas is a non-issue as resources and authorities have been devolved to the county level."

“County governors should understand that funds trickling down from the national government to the counties is not a favor but a constitutional right,” said Joho. Governor Amason Kingi of Kilifi County told the Kwale electorate not to hesitate when time of voting comes to reject those who defected from the party that enabled them to win posts in the last elections to join Jubilee.

He said Malindi electorate "taught Jubilee a lesson" during last year’s by-election and the same should be repeated during the forthcoming polls, adding that they are free to receive money from Jubilee, but vote for ODM candidates.

The ever humourous Kwale Senator Juma Boy said those who defected to Jubilee had long joined the ruling coalition, and their official defection was only meant to add colour to the Jubilee Party launch ceremony at Nairobi’s Kasarani three weeks ago.

Others who attended the rally included MPs Hassan Mwanyoha (Matuga), Suleiman Dori (Msambweni), Zuleikha Juma (Nominated), Aisha Jumwa (Kilifi Women Rep), and Mishi Mboko (Mombasa Women Rep).

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