As the Msambweni parliamentary by-election campaign enters the home stretch, candidates in the fray are scaling up public engagements and making final efforts to woo the voters.
Political parties and the candidates are out in their numbers holding up to seven meetings in a day ahead of the mini-poll scheduled for Tuesday.
They are gearing up their supporters and doing door to door campaigns accompanied by various political leaders allied to them in their vote hunt.
The two leading candidates in the parliamentary race including Omar Boga of ODM and Independent candidate Feisal Bader are out in full force and leaving nothing to chance.
Boga is a former Bongwe-Gombato ward civic leader and a brother to Agriculture Principal Secretary Prof. Hamadi Boga while Bader is former personal assistant to the late MP.
Others in the race are Charles Bilali (Independent), Marere Wamwachai (National Vision Party), Hassan Mwakulonda (Party of Economic Democracy), Mahmoud Sheikh (Wiper), Khamis Mwakaonje (United Green Movement) and Mansury Kumaka (Independent).
A poll by Tifa last week showed Boga enjoying a 54 per cent lead with his closest rival independent candidate Feisal Bader only managing 29 per cent support.
According to the poll, Msambweni voters are grappling with high unemployment, poverty, land issues, crime, lack of water, and poor education standards.
Other challenges facing the constituents include lack of school fees, poor health services, drug abuse, environmental degradation, tribalism, poor infrastructure and diseases.
The Msambweni parliamentary seat fell vacant after the death of area MP Suleiman Dori in March. Msambweni is one of the four constituencies in Kwale county, others being Lunga-Lunga, Matuga, and Kinango.
In the 2017 general election the constituency had 69,377 registered voters spread in the four wards of Ramisi, Kinondo, Bongwe-Gombato and Ukunda.
The campaigns for the ODM nominee are spearheaded by Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and his Kilifi counterpart Amason Kingi while that of the independent candidate is led by Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya.
Boga accompanied by Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi and Likoni MP Mishi Mboko and her Rabai counterpart William Kamoti Wednesday pitched tents in the Nganje area of Ramisi ward where Kingi Kingi implored the voters to back the ODM flag bearer in the impending mini polls.
He asked the electorate to ignore politicians peddling baseless mudslinging propaganda and also refrain from being misguided.
Kingi said Boga remains the ‘best bet’ for the constituency saying as a former civic leader, he had the political experience needed to bring development to the area.
The Kilifi Governor described Boga as a ‘tried and tested’ former civic leader who understands well the critical issues facing the electorate as Ms. Mboko asked the electorate not to gamble with their votes and elect an independent candidate who will not be able to achieve much for the people without party and state machinery at his disposal.
Boga said if elected he will strive to address the squatter menace in the region and ensure residents got ownership documents for their land besides seeking to provide jobs for the youth.
He said he will take steps and work closely with the government to address serious historical land injustices facing the residents of the vast constituency.
The ODM party nominee also says that he will give priority to the tourism sector which is the economic mainstay of Kwale County.
On the other hand, Mvurya urged Msambweni residents to shun tribal and conflict-ridden politics, and rather focus on development issues.
On his part, Bader who is enjoying the support of Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya, his Deputy Fatuma Achani, MPs Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga), Mohamed Ali (Nyali) and Aisha Jumwa (Malindi) said he would continue with the development brought about by the late MP.
While on the campaign trail in the Kinondo area of Ramisi ward, Bader appealed to the electorate to ignore the ‘novice tag’ and give him the chance to represent them in parliament and finish all the work initiated by the late legislator whom he worked with closely.
By Hussein Abdullahii