Coast MPs backing Ruto meet to craft vote hunt plan
Coast MPs backing Deputy President William Ruto Thursday convened an urgent meeting to strategise on how to market him and lock out other presidential candidates eyeing the region’s votes ahead of 2022 polls.
The MPs met at the English Point Marina in Nyali at a gathering they termed as “private and confidential”.
The Coast Parliamentary Group chairman Suleiman Dori called for the meeting.
The Nation established only the region’s MPs who had promised to support the DP were invited.
“Yes the meeting is scheduled for all the MPs but I cannot share any details now as I don’t know the agenda,” Kilifi South MP Owen Baya told the Nation by phone.
Mr Dori, who has rebelled against his ODM party and vowed to campaign for and back Mr Ruto for the presidency, did not respond to calls by the Nation.
Reports indicated that Mr Ruto’s handlers at the Coast had been alarmed by the entry of other presidential candidates looking to eat into ODM strongholds at the Coast and whose residents voted almost to a man for its leader, Mr Raila Odinga, during the 2007, 2013 and August 2017 elections.
Kanu boss Gideon Moi, Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, and Ford Ken-ya leader Moses Wetangula are among those who have recently been to the coast to win local support.
Mr Mudavadi is back in Kwale tomorrow for Matuga MP Kassim Tandaza’s victory party. He won on an ANC ticket.
Mr Tandaza said all coast MPs, through Mr Dori, had confirmed their attendance except three who were out of the country.
He said Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya, who is the Jubilee Party point-man at the Coast, is also expected to attend. The MP said Mr Mudavadi is expected to hold talks with the coast leaders to back him for the presidency.
On Wednesday, MPS allied to Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi were hesitant to state their stand on whether or not their political future lies with the DP, opting instead to listen to the overtures of other suitors before they fully committed to one.
Their vagueness is seen to complicate the Coast arithmetic for Mr Ruto, whose regular forays into the region in recent weeks have stirred the political landscape across the country.
An MP who spoke on condition of anonymity said the English Point Marina meeting is also set to get the stand of some MPs who always praised the DP whenever he visited the coast and promise to back him only to change tune soon as he left.
Last weekend, the DP returned to the Coast for the eighth time since the March 9 political truce between President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga and said his dalliance with local leaders was for development purposes.
Mr Ruto has been using the political ceasefire between the Jubilee Party and Nasa leaders to penetrate the opposition bastion.
His visits to the Coast have split the opposition, with one camp coalescing around Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and the other backing Mr Kingi to be the region’s presidential torch-bearer.
Mr Joho and Mr Kingi are serving their last terms as governors and have announced their bid to go for the top seat.
Recently, however, the two, who have been close allies, have been reading from different scripts, with Mr Kingi indicating that, other than the possibility of joining hands with Mr Ru-to in the 2022 race, he could also form his own party and test the national waters. Mr Joho, meanwhile, plans to vie on an ODM ticket.