The calls for the formation of a political party with roots at the Coast have elicited mixed reactions among the residents of Malindi town, Kilifi County.
While some residents welcomed the formation of a homegrown party in the region, others said there was no need for a new party since the area already has local parties that have not been fully embraced by locals.
Speaking during interviews with journalists in Malindi Town, however, the locals gave divergent opinions concerning the matter on coastal leadership.
Mr. Jimmy Kimani Kariuki born in Malindi said that the formation of a new political outfit for the region was not a good idea, noting that it would take a lot of time to grow a local poarty to a national party since there are already rifts among leaders in the same region.
“Our leaders should reconsider this issue. It is difficult for us people of the coastal strip to stand on our own. We are not ready to have our own party because it is very difficult to nurture and market such a party to members all over the country,” he said.
He termed the agenda as a hoax saying that there have been parties like KADU Asili, Shirikisho and Republican Congress, whose origin is at the coast yet some leaders, such as Kingi, decided to use ODM party to vie for various positions.
“Even our own leaders have abandoned KADU Asili, Shirikisho and the Republican Congress. This shows that the party to be formed will just collapse like them,” he said.
Mr. Kimani said forming a new political party for the region would not cure the region’s purported marginalization and urged political leaders to form a committee that would spearhead the aspiration of the coastal people at the negotiation table at the national level.
“We should have representatives that will have our views addressed but not through forming a party to lead ourselves. In politics, players depend on each other to achieve their goal,” he said.
Janet Iruri from Watamu however supported the idea of forming a local political vehicle saying the region had depended on leaders from other regions to guide it on politics matters.
“I don’t see any problem for people of coast to have a party of their own as proposed by our governor. It will give us an upper hand to bargain for power since we will be speaking in one voice,” she said.
Mr. Hasan Nabahali who resides in Sir Ali area of Malindi town also believes that it is the best idea for the coastal people to have a political party, saying that it will bring people together just like ODM has done in Nyanza where the party leader comes from.
“When you conduct a spot check on the vocal political parties in Kenya, you will find out they have huge support from where the party head comes from. This shows unity among people. The same should be emulated here in coast. Let our leaders come together and form the party that will have its roots here so that our people can also be united,” he insisted.
Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi has been agitating for the formation of a political party or coalition that will steer the aspirations of the residents of the coast region and enable the region to have a greater bargaining power at the national level.
Similar sentiments have been raised by Kilifi North Member of Parliament, who however, says his efforts to register a new political party that was to be launched this month, had been frustrated by Kingi and his Mombasa counterpart, Hassan Ali Joho.
On Wednesday, Kingi clashed in public with Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga over the agitation for the formation of a new party, with Mr. Odinga accusing Mr. Kingi of trying to abandon the party that has sponsored him for three terms, one as Member of Parliament and two as governor.
“Kadu Asili and Shirikisho have been in existence for long at the Coast, yet Kingi has been vying for elections on an ODM ticket. Why did he not choose one of the local parties? Now that he knows he is in his last term as governor, he wants to abandon the party that has supported him all along,” Odinga remarked during a public rally in Ganze.
by Matere Jesse/ Emmanuel Masha