Nasa goes full force in hunt for Coast vote

Only Chama Cha Mashinani leader Isaac Ruto was missing from the team that traversed four of the six Coast counties from Thursday to Saturday.

The National Super Alliance fought hard this week to consolidate its support at the Coast when  four of its five co-principals toured the region ahead of the August polls.

Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga paraded the outfit’s local leaders to prevent the Jubilee Party from penetrating the region that overwhelmingly voted for ODM in the 2013 polls.

It also emerged that despite being in the same coalition, Mr Odinga’s ODM and his running mate’s Wiper Democratic Party were fighting for control of the region’s votes.

In Kilifi, which is the region’s most populous county, Mr Odinga, ODM deputy leader Hassan Ali Joho, Governor Amason Kingi and Woman Representative Aisha Jumwa rooted for the election of only ODM candidates.

SIX-PIECE

Vouching for a six-piece voting style for ODM candidates, Mr Odinga said “hatutaki madoadoa” (We don’t want specks).

ODM joined hands with Ford-Kenya, Wiper, ANC and Chama cha Mashinani to form Nasa coalition. Mr Odinga is the ODM party leader.

READ: Nasa campaigns in Taita Taveta

ODM has been fighting with its Nasa affiliates, as well as the Jubilee Party, for control of the coast, which it perceives as its turf as the majority of locals voted for it in 2013.

Mr Odinga and his team further asked locals to reject independent candidates and those from smaller parties which were not in Nasa, even if they were claiming to be backing the coalition and Mr Odinga for the presidency.

Kadu-Asili gubernatorial candidate Kazungu Kambi, who is seeking to dislodge Mr Kingi, was described as a non-starter.

TOUGH CHALLENGE

In Taita Taveta, Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka appeared to embrace candidates from all Nasa affiliate parties battling for various posts.

ODM chief whip Thomas Mwadeghu is facing a tough challenge from businessman Granton Samboja of Wiper Party and former Central Bank of Kenya boss Jacinta Mwatela of ANC for the governor’s post.

Governor John Mruttu defected from ODM, citing irregularities in the party primaries that were won by Mr Mwadeghu.

Mr Mruttu, who is the only contender from the Taveta community, will vie as an independent candidate.

He is facing the fight of his life from seven contenders from the dominant Taita community.

GOVERNOR’S SEAT

Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka led the leaders in urging locals to reject Senator Dan Mwazo, who decamped from ODM to Jubilee Party on whose ticket he is seeking the governor’s seat.

Woman representative Joyce Lay, who also shifted from ODM to JP and is going for the senatorial seat, also received immense criticism from the Nasa brigade.

The Nasa leaders urged locals to ensure the coalition candidates bagged all the seats in the county.

In 2013, only Taveta MP Naomi Shaban won on a TNA ticket under Jubilee.

But the leaders said she had now been sidelined and had done little to uplift the livelihoods of locals despite being in government.

DISADVANTAGE CANDIDATES

However, it was during Iftar (breaking of the evening, Ramadhan fast) in Mombasa on Friday that the cold war within Nasa over control of the region came out in the open, with Mr Musyoka telling ODM leaders to stop advocating a six-piece vote for its candidates.

Mr Musyoka said the move would disadvantage candidates from other Nasa affiliate parties. But Mr Odinga said there was nothing wrong with ODM campaigning for its candidates, adding that other parties in Nasa were also free to do so.

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