Governors expected to attend include Kilifi’s Amason Kingi, Hassan Joho of Mombasa, Fahim Twaha (Lamu) and Dhadho Godhana of Tana River. Salim Mvurya of Kwale is not expected.
Governor Samboja confirmed the meeting and stated it would focus on how coast counties can ease trade restrictions and complement each other in exploiting trade and investment opportunities available in each county. “We will discuss how the opportunities available in our counties can be used to help our people,” he said.
The meeting comes at a time when several leaders from the region have started a loud clamor for a Coast-based political Party which would give them a substantial bargaining power in national matters.
There have also been calls for coast leaders to unite and adopt a common stance towards Building Bridges Initiatives (BBI). Samboja has been a vocal proponent of BBI stating that it will protect the four constituencies in the region against being merged for failure of meeting population quota as set by Independence Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
He also said the perennial row of sharing of revenue between Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) over Tsavo National Park will be factored in the BBI.
Political observers say that though the meeting was being presented as a forum for sharing economic challenges within the coastal region, there was all likelihood that politics will also feature prominently.
Mr. Patra Kaala, an opinion leader in Voi, said it was impossible for the governors to meet and not talk about BBI and the prevailing political situation in the country.
“They cannot simply ignore BBI and what it promises for the residents of the Coast region,” he said.
by Wagema Mwangi