ODM Party Leader Raila Odinga has arrived in Mombasa for a series of meetings to consolidate his support at the Coast and bolster his presidential bid.
Mr Odinga, who is being hosted by Deputy Party Leader Hassan Joho arrived at the port city shortly after 9 am.
He is to address road side rallies and later meet Mombasa ODM aspirants.
Tomorrow, Mr Odinga is to preside over a major rally at the historic Tononoka grounds where Coast residents are to declare their political stand.
Mr Odinga’s spokesman Dennis Onyango said the former Prime Minister has dispatched another ODM team to Marakwet for “solidarity meetings with the people following the spate of attacks that have been witnessed in the area.”
The team is led by Kajiado Central MP Elijah Memusi, Dagoretti North Mp Simba Arati and Homa Bay woman representative Gladys Wanga.
The group will hold prayer meetings at Tankul in the Kapyego and another in Kapcherop before joining Mr Odinga in Tononoka on Sunday.
Mr Odinga’s visit is meant to water down any gains made by Jubilee Party in the battle for the 1.73 million votes at the Coast which is regarded as a swing vote.
Although locals overwhelmingly voted for ODM and Mr Odinga in the 2013 polls, President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto have been burning mid night oil to turn the tides against the opposition.
The Jubilee Party stalwarts have been making frequent visits to the Coast dishing goodies and wooing locals to re-elect them in the August vote.
The Tononoka rally was preceded by a tour of Mr Joho, Governors Amason Kingi (Kilifi), his Taita Taveta counterpart John Mruttu in the six Coast counties to campaign for ODM and Mr Odinga to be president.
The ODM brigade’s rallies in Kwale on Thursday were however disrupted by police causing an outcry from the opposition and other human rights defenders. Mr Joho’s team was also pelted with mangoes by Jubilee Party fanatics in Mpeketoni in Lamu.
Coast regional coordinator Nelson Marwa who has often rubbed shoulders with Mr Joho over various issues has also told the governor to restrict his drive to Mombasa County.
Mr Marwa and his boss President Uhuru Kenyatta have also criticized Mr Joho for referring to himself as “Sultan.”
Mr Joho was last week blocked by an elite presidential guards from attending the re-launch of Mtongwe ferry by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The Coast political kingpin has also complained that six armed people recently visited his house in Nyali as part of continued police harassment.
The Kenya Revenue Authority is further investigating his bank accounts and businesses, in a move Mr Joho says is to cripple him financially.
The ODM leader who has announced he will go for presidency in 2022 says he fell out with President Kenyatta over the way Waitiki Farm squatters were treated by the national government.
Mr Joho said he and the Head of State differed after he questioned why the squatters were being asked to pay for their title deeds after the government paid off Mr Evanson Kamau Waitiki and divided the land among the locals.
“The President was categorical the squatters had to pay because Coast residents did not vote for him,” Mr Joho said of the allocation of more than 900 acres to squatters, ending a decades-long dispute.
Mr Joho said he would only respect the President if the President showed him respect.
On President Kenyatta’s directive that he should stop following him around, Mr Joho told a rally in Garsen last Sunday that the Head of State was not a woman to be followed.
“I am not a street urchin … I was elected by the people of Mombasa … I will not stop raising issues affecting locals,” said Mr Joho and added: “I cannot keep on following a fellow man. Where should I go? There are people here whom I could follow.”
He added that he was opposed to changing Vision 2030 plans to shift the building of a dry port in Voi to Naivasha in the Rift Valley.
President Kenyatta, Mr Joho added, was also launching projects initiated by the Grand Coalition government of President Mwai Kibaki and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
The Jubilee administration, according to the ODM leader, had failed to fulfil its promises to Coast residents on water and land and locals had not benefited from jobs at the Lamu port.
Leaders of the ruling team, President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto, Mr Joho said, were rushing to launch projects at the Coast whose funds were not in the budget four months to the election, in order to gain political mileage.