He said having served as deputy governor for the last three and a half years, he was more qualified to occupy the top seat in the county when his boss retired and called on voters in the devolved unit to have confidence in him.
Saburi, who served as a County Executive Committee Member during Kingi’s first term was selected as Kingi’s running mate in 2017 after the governor fell out with his former deputy Kenneth Kamto (now deceased).
Saburi and the late Kamto are from the Rabai sub-tribe of the Mijikenda and it seems those wishing to take over the Kilifi gubernatorial position, especially from the Giriama sub-tribe always court the Rabai by choosing a running mate from the community.
“We have had two of us (Rabais) as deputy governors, and I believe we now have what it takes for our community to take over the mantle,” he said during the burial of Mama Ruth Kombo, the mother to former Ruruma Member of County Assembly (MCA) Naftali Kombo.
Other speakers during the burial, including Rabai MP William Kamoti, Members of the Kilifi County Assembly and aspiring politicians, also talked to the fact that the community was ready for the top seat in the county and called for unity among them in order for one of them to occupy it.
However, Mr. Kamoti told politicians to preach peace and avoid confrontational politics during the runup to the Building Bridges Initiative Constitutional (Amendment) Bill referendum and the 2022 General Elections.
He said he supported the quest of coastal unity but asked leaders to involve all communities in order to have a homegrown unity and not one dictated by forces from outside the region.
“We want a kind of unity that emanates from us, not one in which people are sent to come and tell us to be united or to form a coastal party. We shall only embrace a kind of unity that is homegrown and no one in which somebody has been sponsored to come and form a party for us,” he said.
Other politicians who have so far expressed interest in the seat include Lands and Physical Planning Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Gideon Mung’aro, Kilifi Senator Sterwart Madzayo, outspoken Malindi Member of Parliament Aisha Jumwa and her Magarini counterpart Michael Kingi.
It is not clear whether former Kaloleni MP and National Lands Commissioner Kazungu Kambi will throw his hat into the ring even as reports indicate that Kilifi North MP Owen Baya, who had earlier declared his interest in the seat, withdrew from the race.
Kambi contested the seat in 2017 and emerged a distant third and his petition against Kingi’s election victory was dismissed by the election court in 2018.
Saburi found himself in the eye of a storm in March last year after being accused of deliberately spreading the deadly coronavirus pandemic following an alleged trip to Europe.
A case in which Saburi was accused of the offence crumbled before reaching the hearing stage, albeit quietly.
by Emmanuel Masha