With only 12 months to the next General Election, six deputy governors at the Coast have to decide whether to chart their own new political path, stick with their bosses or retire from politics.
Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi deputy governors have declared their quest to replace their bosses who are serving their final terms and who they hope will endorse them.
Their Lamu, Taita Taveta and Tana River counterparts are also not sitting pretty because they could be replaced next year.
In 2017, only Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya retained his first deputy, Fatuma Achani, while Mombasa’s Hassan Joho dropped his first deputy Hazel Katana for William Kingi. Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi replaced the late Kenneth Kamto with Gideon Saburi.
Yesterday, Dr Kingi (Mombasa DG) said the people have urged him to contest the governor’s position and he hopes to win the ODM ticket and the main election.
“Nobody has been endorsed by anyone in ODM. Anybody interested in the party ticket will have to go for the free and fair nomination process. Baba (ODM leader Raila Odinga) has assured us nobody will be endorsed. I am sure I will win the nomination and will be on the ballot next year,” he said.
Kingi will face Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir and Mombasa businessman Suleiman Shahbal for the Orange party ticket.
Joho has also stayed close to the three contenders within the party but is yet to publicly endorse any of them. Kingi said he has accumulated experience in the last four years under Joho.
“I have gained a lot of experience under Joho’s mentorship in the last four years and I am ready to serve as governor. I do not need two years of induction to become an effective governor,” he said.
Kingi said his main agenda will be to raise the standards of education in the county by ensuring that no child misses school or university because of lack of school fees.
In Kwale, Achani has been close to Governor Mvurya since 2013, The governor has already endorsed her as his heir apparent and hit the ground to campaign for her. Mvurya is doing the bidding for her based on his development record and saying she represents continuity.
“I have done my part. I am sure my deputy Madam Fatuma Achani and I have served you well and taken Kwale forward. We shall continue to do that…” Mvurya said in an interview.
“Other than Madam Achani, the others have no track record to show, no agenda for Kwale and no clear development vision.”
Speaking at a recent function in Dzombo Ward, Lunga Lunga, Achani said she will continue to implement Mvurya’s plans if elected next year.
In Kilifi, Saburi has begun the campaigns to succeed Governor Kingi and he is confident of clinching the seat. Kingi has not endorsed any candidate.
“We are in ODM and Kilifi people are in ODM because they have a covenant with it. It is the only party that has their interests at heart but we have started seeing those who ran away trying to come back through the back door, we welcome them but they should have civility,” he said.
Last week, Raila said ODM nominations will be free and fair and no one should expect a direct ticket.
Other candidates in the race to succeed Kingi are Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa, County Assembly Speaker Jimmy Kahindi and Devolution CAS Gideon Mung’aro.
The deputies of governors Fahim Twaha (Lamu), Granton Samboja (Taita Taveta) and Dhadho Godhana (Tana River) are not sitting pretty either.
Samboja and his deputy Governor Majala Mlagui have had an on-and-off relationship since the governor stripped her of all her duties.
Last year, her supporters asked her to vie for the Mwatate parliamentary seat next year. But Samboja and Mlagui appear to have buried their hatchet and are now working together.
“It was clear that she was being mistreated. We are happy they are together but in politics, she should be ready for anything,” said Joyce Kadenge, a women’s rights activist in Taveta.
Mlagui said, “We have built a strong foundation for the county and we cannot leave it at the initial stage. We have to complete our development agenda and make sure the governor is re-elected.”
She refused to talk about her next political move, only saying: “I am in office serving in my capacity as deputy governor to Governor Samboja.”
Mwatate MCA Abednego Mwanjala said the deputy governor has not officially declared her interest in the Mwatate parliamentary seat.
“The governor and his deputy have come close and are working together to neutralise the influence of Mwatate MP Andrew Mwadime, who has declared interest in the governor’s seat.
“Ms Majala and Mwadime come from the vote-rich Chawia location. Samboja brought his deputy closer to neutralise Mr Mwadime’s influence in Chawia ,” said Mwanjala.
In Tana River, Deputy Governor Salim Batuyu has publicly declared that he will be in the race to unseat his boss.
Batuyu’s relationship with Godhana deteriorated six months ago when he declared he would not attend the county government functions anymore.
This forced the governor to write a letter to the County Public Service Board, asking it to stop Batuyu’s salaries and allowances.
The deputy governor moved to court to challenge the move. The case is still in court.
Batuyu told the Sunday Standard that he had what it takes to beat Godhana in next year’s polls. “I’m still the deputy governor. I cannot be humiliated by anyone, including the governor. I will face him in 2022,” said Batuyu. He will be seeking the ODM ticket.
In Lamu, Governor Twaha and his deputy Abdulhakim Aboud Bwana enjoy a close working relationship. The governor is expected to stick with Bwana as his running mate next year.
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