Wiper Party gubernatorial candidate for Mombasa County Hezron Awiti has entered an agreement with the Mijikenda community in a major step to unseat the incumbent Governor Hassan Joho.
The Mijikenda community is said to form 52 per cent of the total registered votes in the county with upcountry voters including Kambas and Luos making a significant percentage. The Swahili, Arab, Somali and other communities form the rest of the voting bloc.
Speaking at a short ceremony to announce the new pact at the home of former powerful cabinet minister Karisa Maitha at Majaoni, the Mijikenda community spokesman Ibrahim Kai said the agreement with Mr Awiti was based on three key pillars.
“The first pillar of the Memorandum of Understanding is that Mr Awiti serves as Governor for one term only. The second is that he must be deputized by a member from our community who will run for the seat after Mr Awiti’s term,” he said.
The other demand is that the leader of Majority in Mr Awiti’s government should be from the community which should also be treated favourably in issuance of tenders and jobs.
“The agreement is that members of our community who form the biggest voting bloc in Mombasa should be given opportunities in commensurate with the numbers such as tenders, employment and government openings,” said Mr Kai.
A representative of the Kamba community Daniel Mwange said his community who form the second largest block in the county will enter a similar agreement with the aspirant this week.
“We supported the current government in 2013 but have not benefited. That is why we will enter into an agreement with Mr Awiti so that we get a stake in his government,” he said.
Mr Kai said Mr Awiti was the only aspirant who approached the community for support and declared that “the door has been shut for any other candidates who will come to us”.
A community elder Geoffrey Clement Jefwa said if he gets elected, Mr Awiti should effectively address the squatter problem in order to gain confidence of the community.
“You must end the squatter problem by 2022. All past leaders have failed to solve this problem and virtually all of us here are squatters,” said Mzee Jefwa.
Mr Awiti promised to fulfil his pledges and respect the MoU if elected. He called on the communities to vote for him and promised change in governance.
“The current administration treats people selectively. One must have relatives or must be related to the leaders to get a tender. A large number of residents have been left in the outside circle with only a small cartel enjoying the fruits of Mombasa County. My government will end this and be an all-inclusive government that serves everybody and tribe equally,” he pledged.
He promised to be a one-term governor as demanded by the MoU which he said, has been in formulation for two years.
“I will reduce the land rates and taxes on small scale enterprises in order to lower the cost of doing business in Mombasa. My government will allocate 20 per cent of its revenue to religious organizations which will take care of those affected by narcotic drugs and other social programmes,” he said.
He described the pact with the Mijikenda community as a huge step towards his goal of ousting Mr Joho of ODM and urged all voters to rally behind him.