“There are only three religions in Kilifi County— Islam, Christianity and ODM”, Mr Samuel Gonzi Rai, outgoing Kinango Member of Parliament, once said.
And so it has come to pass.
Mr Rai made the prophetic declaration during the March 7, 2016 Malindi by-election where ODM candidate William Mtengo trounced his closest opponent, Jubilee’s Philip Charo.
Mr Rai, who was one of the chief campaigners of Jubilee ahead of the much publicised by-election, came to the conclusion after all his efforts to sell the government party in the area failed.
The popularity of ODM in the area overwhelmed the lawmaker, thus equating it to a religion that locals revered, almost worshiping the party.
In the August 8 General Election, it was an exact replica of the Malindi by-election with Jubilee not getting any elective position in the entire county, not even a Member of County Assembly (MCA).
Governor Amason Jeffah Kingi (ODM) retained his seat with a landslide majority against his competitors— Jubilee’s Gideon Maitha Mung’aro, who was touted to be the government’s point man in the region, like Mombasa Governor Hassan Ali Joho is for ODM and Nasa.
Mr Kingi garnered 213,174 votes to defeat Mr Mung’aro who came second with 55,107 votes.
Kadu-Asili’s Samuel Kazungu Kambi got 43,544 votes while Mr James Kahindi Mangi (Independent) got 3,294 votes.
Amani National Congress (ANC) candidate Benjamin Dadu Mumba came last with 2,369 votes.
In the Woman Rep race, ODM candidate Getrude Mbeyu Mwanyanje won with a landslide after getting 165,878 votes against her Jubilee competitor Amina Laura Mnyazi, who managed 67,556 votes.
Ms Mwanyanje floored several other candidates in the crowded race.
They included Juliet Riziki Baya (Independent, 23,702 votes), Witness Nyevu Kambi (Kadu-Asili, 16,088 votes), Priscilla Nzikwa Mungah (Wiper, 14,625 votes) and Josephine Chizi Bebora (Kanu, 9,772 votes).
Other candidates were Ummi Kulthum Amina Athman (Independent, 8,587 votes), Getrude Bahati Charo (FPK, 5,107 votes) and Betty Medza Munga Kitsao (Independent, 3,783 votes).
Jubilee also lost its bids for seven parliamentary slots of Kilifi North, Kilifi South, Ganze, Malindi, Kaloleni, Rabai and Magarini. So it did in the numerous MCA positions.
Although the losers in both Kilifi and Mombasa counties complained of a fraudulent election, political analysts have given a number of reasons why Jubilee lost so terribly in the two counties.
Mr Mung’aro led a group of losers in vowing to petition the results in court, saying there were a lot of irregularities in the poll.
But in Mombasa County— where Governor Joho amassed 219,102 votes to defeat Jubilee’s Suleiman Said Saleh Shahbal, who got 68,970 votes, Wiper’s Hassan Omar Hassan, who had 43,229 votes, Hezron Awiti Bollo of Vibrant Democratic Party, who managed 4,663 votes and Daniel Munga Kitsao of Kadu-Asili, who got 1,553 votes— no one has indicated he will petition the results.
In the Mombasa parliamentary races, Nasa scooped all positions except one, which went to independent candidate.
Mr Badi Twalib (ODM) won in Jomvu, Abdullswamad Nassir (ODM) in Mvita, Mishi Mboko (ODM) in Likoni, Mohamed Ali Mohamed (independent) in Nyali and Ali Menza Mbogo (Wiper) in Kisauni.
An Associate Professor of Sociology at Pwani University Halim Shauri says a number of reasons led to Jubilee’s massive loss in the two counties.
“The two counties are led by ODM’s strongest point men in Coast— Governor Ali Hassan Joho and Governor Amason Jeffah Kingi. They had to demonstrate their powers to remain in the opposition’s limelight by convincing majority voters to back the opposition,” he said.
He said the two leaders have been at the forefront in articulating the historical injustices and marginalisation of the region since the Arab rule and later the British and African regimes of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta to the present.
“The two have been best understood by the residents in Kilifi and Mombasa counties. There is the thorny issue of land ownership, which the two have explained well in the Kilifi and Mombasa,” said Prof Shauri.
He said Governor Joho’s war with President Uhuru Kenyatta further propelled him to unimaginable popularity, which distinguished him from the other local leaders as the people’s true fighter.
“Joho, and by extension Kingi, have been the Biblical lions of Juda. They showed the people that despite promises from Jubilee, nothing much would change by electing the government side because largely, people who inflicted their pain are in government today,” he said.
Another fundamental reason was the wrong choice of pointmen to lead Jubilee’s campaign in the region.
“Mr Mung’aro and his brigades, for example, were lame ducks who could not match the ODM outfit led by governors Joho and Kingi,” the academic said.
“They are weak soldiers and given that the opposition is so entrenched among residents, it needed stronger people to successfully sell the government agenda in the region.”
He said decades-long marginalisation of the region still rings in the people’s minds and the Jubilee slogan of “kazi iendelee” and Uhuruto Tano Tena (let the status quo continue) particularly angered the residents because it was clear the government would not bring the change they yearned for.
“From former President Moi’s fuata nyayo (follow the footsteps) to Kibaki’s kazi iendelee and Uhuru’s tuko pamoja slogans did not resonate with the people,” he said.
Another don at Pwani University, Prof Rocha Chimera, said governors Joho and Kingi created more awareness of the problems caused to Coast people by past and present governments leading to their major victories.
“Governor Joho’s war with the Jubilee government on the transfer of port services from Mombasa to Naivasha, for example, has made a big point to residents. Doing so is killing the Coast economy and the people are aware of this,” he said.
Prof Chimera two botched multi-billion projects earmarked for the Coast have particularly inflicted pain among residents.
“It is documented that three techno-cities were to be built – Isiolo, Kilifi and Diani in Kwale County. But the Coast ones were scraped off leaving only Isiolo which is ongoing and in fact has an international airport. The people are aware of all these injustices,” said the professor
He said the fact that governors Joho and Kingi appeared to be government’s targets assured them sympathy following, turning them into true champions.
Mentioning about Kwale County, where Governor Salim Mvurya and Lunga Lunga MP Khatib Mwashetani won on Jubilee tickets, Prof Chimera said this was purely on their track records.
“If Mvurya and Mwashetani did not perform, they would be in the dustbin today. Their sterling development track records saved them even though their party remains largely unpopular in the area,” he said.
“The mess by the two Nasa candidates Dr Issa Kipera and Chirau Ali Mwakwere also handed Governor Mvurya an easy win following their failure to unite and field one candidate.”
Like his colleague Prof Shauri, Prof Chimera says Governor Joho’s constant “war” with the Head of State made him more popular among residents.
“He took the president head-on. He and Turkana Governor Josephat Koli Nanok are the only ones who have achieve that fete and it’s not easy,” he said.
During his swearing-in ceremony at Mama Ngina grounds on Tuesday, Governor Joho repeated that he will always fight for the rights of the people even in the heat of frustrations from the government.
“I have undergone a lot of frustration and (I’ve been) targeted by the Jubilee government. But I will not relent in fighting for the citizen’s rights and make sure they are protected. I will always protect you,” he told the jubilant crowd.