Campaigning for the Msambweni parliamentary seat ahead of the December 15 by-election has begun in earnest.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) last month announced that the by-election, which was postponed in April due to the Covid-19 outbreak, will be finally held on December 15.
Parliamentary hopefuls and parties have hit the campaign trail in a bid to win the hearts and minds of Msambweni voters.
The seat fell vacant following the death of the immediate Member of Parliament for the constituency Suleiman Dori in March this year.
Msambweni is one of the four constituencies in Kwale county, others being Lunga-Lunga, Matuga and Kinango.
It has 69,377 registered voters spread across the four wards including Ramisi, Kinondo, Bongwe-Gombato and Ukunda.
The constituency features a high grade ore body with a high value mineral assemblage such as rutile, ilmenite and zircon. It has also world class tourist hotels doting Diani beach which has been voted the best in Africa for six years in a row.
The two-term MP who succumbed to cancer was a member of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party.
Several candidates are contesting to replace the late Dori among them former Bongwe-Gombato MCA Omar Boga (ODM), Feisal Abdallah (Independent), Sharlet Mariam Akinyi (Independent), Liganje Mwakaoje (United Green Movement) party and Shee Abdulrahman (Wiper Democratic Movement) party.
The candidates for the Msambweni parliamentary by-election have already embarked on meet-the-people tours to woo voters.
ODM Kwale branch chairman and former MP for Matuga Hassan Mwanyoha says his party is keen on recapturing the Msambweni seat.
Speaking Sunday, Mwanyoha said the seat rightfully belongs to the party and aspirants on other political parties and independent candidates should brace themselves for a bruising political duel.
He also said ODM party leader and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga is expected to visit the region and offer support to the party candidate.
Boga is the younger brother to Agriculture Principal Secretary Prof. Hamisi Boga while Abdallah is cousin and former personal assistant to the late legislator.
Abdallah has denied that he enjoys support from the ‘Tangatanga’ wing of the Jubilee government insisting he was on his own.
Abdallah and Akinyi had been eying the ODM party ticket before jumping ship and meeting Deputy President Dr. William Ruto separately.
However, the two later announced that they will run as independent candidates after the Jubilee party resolved not to field a candidate but will instead back the ODM candidate in the race.
Lunga Lunga MP Khatib Mwashetani and his Kinango counterpart Benjamin Tayari also headed straight into the fray, having vowed to support Abdallah.
“I urge the people of Msambweni to come out in large numbers on 15th December to vote for Abdallah for continuity of Msambweni development plans and in honour of our late brother Suleiman Dori for the good job that he was able to accomplish,” said Mwashetani.
Sharlet, who is the only female politician in the ring is banking on the votes of women and the youth whom she says are still grappling with limited political inclusion and high levels of poverty.
Mwakaoje is a retired clinical officer while Shee Abdulrahman is a prominent local businessman in the constituency.
While on a meet-the –people tour in several locations Boga stressed the need for a high voter turnout in the upcoming by-election.
He is exuding confidence noting that the ODM party has a strong following in the constituency that was established for the 1988 general elections.
The former civic leader says there is ‘no competition’ between the different political parties as ODM enjoys a strong following in the poll area.
He said he will focus on the fishing and tourism sectors and other spheres of development if elected.
Abdurahman promised to revamp tourism and agriculture if elected MP noting that the constituency has lagged behind in development due to bad political leadership.
Mwakaoje says his agenda in seeking to represent the constituency was in pursuit of a fair, just and equitable society.
By Hussein Abdullahi