Leaders Disunity Hampering Bargain For Coast
By Mwakera Mwajefa And Mwakwaya Raymond
Desperation to shed the ‘village party’ tag in lieu of national outlook is forcing Pamoja African Alliance (PAA) to use unorthodox means of exiting from the Azimio-One Kenya coalition.
The party, as it is, has been unable to spread its wings beyond Kilifi County where it commands a huge following only in Magarini and sections of Ganze.
Through joining the Azimio fraternity vie Jubilee Party, the party leadership had expect to reap big in terms of revognition at the national level only to end up operating in the peripheral.
The exit threat from the Azimio-One Kenya is just a tactical move to draw the attention of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga.
Actually, party leader Amason Kingi’s withdrawal from the coalition is inconsequential because most of those who sought its ticket for the August polls did so due to its association with Azimio.
That’s why two of its gubernatorial candidates prominent city lawyer George Kithi (Kilifi) and Mombasa deputy governor William Kingi came out strongly to deny the party wanted to ditch Azimio for Kenya Kwanza Alliance.
The duo and other PAA officials said they were planning to exit Azimio but not to join another coalition that came in the wake of the Registrar of Political Parties Anne Nderitu telling them they cannot ditch the coalition.
What prompted the party to write to ORPP seeking withdrawal was informed by its leader’s failure to gain the national image after none of its members featured at the constituted national coalition executive council.
This was a big blow to Kingi’s ego after his ‘brother’ Hassan Joho (Mombasa) and Likoni MP Mishi Juma from ODM and Jubilee Dr Naomi Shaban (Taveta) were picked up for the council.
Based on its Coastal spread and beyond, PAA remains a political force to watch in Kilifi County where it commands huge following in Magarini and pockets of Ganze constituencies out of the seven in the region.
Even if the party withdraws from Azimio, its impact will not be felt within and without the Coast region due to the ongoing differences and infighting in its leadership and support bases.
This is because since the advent of devolution after the March 4, 2013 general election, Joho has played the face of national politics with his Kilifi ‘brother’ playing the second fiddle.
Many might recall that mid-last year (July, 2021) homegrown parties pushed for a coalition of political parties at the Coast region dubbed Coast Political Parties’ Convention (CPPC) and Coast Integrated Development Initiative (CIDI) to precipitate the unity talks.
But all this became a cropper when some parties such as PAA joined Azimio while Kadu Asili and Communist Party of Kenya joined Kenya Kwanza Alliance whereas Umoja Summit Party of Kenya and Shirikisho Party of Kenya remaining undecided hence forming their own coalition Ukombozi wa Majimbo.
The envisaged amalgamation of the five parties that met in Voi town last year promising to unite the region and gain momentum ahead of the August elections has exploded leaving it (region) radarless
When Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi came up with the idea of unifying existing parties into one formidable outfit, it received acclaim from residents of the six counties but for wrangles with the leading lights from within.
The open differences between the governor and his ‘brother’ from Mombasa caused tectonic plates shift of allegiances with many elected leaders opting to remain with their political outfits thus rendering the unity calls impossible.
This exposed the region to manipulation that led to Kingi’s Pamoja African Alliance (PAA) failing to ignite enthusiasm to other parties such as Umoja Summit Party of Kenya, KaduAsili and Shirikisho Party of Kenye to join the bandwagon.
With lack of local political outfit to champion local interests, the region is in a catch-22 situation with its fate squarely on the whims of the political invites.
Failure of the unity of purpose opens a Pandora Box for PAA, USPK, SPK and KaduAsili to face off with their own brothers and sisters donning colours of ODM, UDA, Jubilee and Wiper among others.
This puts Coast at a precarious situation without stakes to bargain but leftovers to eat as a topup region for mainstream presidential candidates.