President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday, March 24, 2021, held talks with leaders from the coastal region at State House in Nairobi, a meeting that sent shockwaves to Deputy President William Ruto and Raila Odinga’s camps.
The meeting with governors Ali Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Amason Kingi (Kilifi) and Kwale’s Salim Mvurya set tongues wagging as 2022 succession politics gain momentum, coming at a time the coastal region has been threatening to form a regional party ahead of the polls.
Taita Taveta Governor Granton Samboja missed the meeting after undergoing minor surgery.
Details of the meeting have surfaced with President Kenyatta said to have promised the region that has been politically ignored for years despite its huge numbers a powerful position once the BBI Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2020 is passed.
Sources in the know claim that the President told the county chiefs that devolution is taking a political regional angle with political parties emerging as key bargaining tools at the national level, urging the coastal leaders not to be left behind.
The meeting with the top coastal leaders was meant to send a strong signal to DP Ruto and Raila as far as the Coast Politics is concerned.
Raila’s ODM party has dominated coast politics for years with Governor Kingi coming out recently to declare intentions to form a regional political outfit.
“The people in the region are tired of being treated like second class citizens during every poll and we demand to be recognized as we have more than 1.7 million registered voters, ” he said in a recent function.
But in his tour of the coast early this month, Raila joined Joho to discourage the regional party talks.
The former Prime Minister said the idea of regional parties has outlived its usefulness and urged those agitating for it to join other larger parties with a national outlook.
“There is no need to form tribal regional parties. There were parties or associations like the Kikuyu Central Association, others belonging to the Luo, the Luhya, among other communities, formed before but they all died,” Raila said in Taita Taveta.
President Kenyatta’s recent manoeuvres, analysts say, are part of a bigger plan aimed at isolating both his deputy and handshake partner ostensibly to soften ground for the newly launched One Kenya Alliance previously dubbed the sacred alliance.
One Kenya Alliance is comprised of party bosses Musalia Mudavadi (Amani National Congress), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Moses Wetangula (Ford Kenya) and Gideon Moi of KANU.
Mudavadi, Kalonzo and Wetangula, who supported Raila’s 2017 presidential bid under the National Super Alliance (NASA), have ruled out any coalition negotiations to back the ODM leader in 2022.
By encouraging the coast to form a regional party, President Kenyatta aims to reduce Raila’s influence and also block Ruto from making inroads in the region.
The One Kenya Alliance has reportedly been tasked by the ‘deep state’ and by extension the outgoing head of state to agree among themselves on how they will share leadership positions.
To take care of the Coast region, during the State House meeting, President Kenyatta, assured the leaders of the deputy prime minister position and other key positions to follow depending on their efforts in their new assignment to tame Raila and Ruto in the region.