Governor Amason Kingi’s new political outfit, the Pamoja African Alliance (Paa), is courting fringe parties in Coast to lock in the region’s votes ahead of next year’s polls.
But analysts say it could also eventually form alliances with national parties. The formation of Paa a few months ago is the latest twist in the battle for Coast, which has the potential to become a swing vote region due to the absence of serious home-grown presidential contenders.
Mr Kingi said the party will work with like-minded outfits towards the elections, but will prepare itself for future leadership after consolidating regional and national support.
He spoke during a meeting with Paa youth leaders from seven sub-counties at Bofa Estate in the outskirts of Kilifi town.
The governor said efforts to unite Coast through a home-based party were on course, and exuded confidence that such a coalition would command a strong following in the region.
He said Coast was still lagging behind in terms of economic development and that the time had come for locals to have a bigger say in national politics.
“Time has come for Coast people to ask themselves when they will stop being political squatters. And that is why as a region, we’re going to be extremely careful with whom we’re going to partner with,” he said.
“You can’t inherit anything in a house that belongs to someone. No matter how [small] our party is, we are going to make it better as we move forward. We must be proud of our roots,” the governor added.
Several Coast-based parties have been holding meetings in a bid to revive them in readiness for the elections. Mr Kingi’s announcement comes in the wake of a rush by presidential hopefuls to ally themselves with regional parties. For instance, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Kilifi County Chairperson Teddy Mwambire is on record as saying the party is ready to negotiate with local outfits for a pre-election alliance.
Other Coast parties are Shirikisho Party of Kenya, Kadu-Asili, Republican Congress Party of Kenya, Umoja Summit Party of Kenya and Communist Party of Kenya. The quest to form a regional party in Coast has, in the past, hit a snag with some leaders resisting its formation.
ODM is making party loyalty a condition for nomination to elective positions. The party Mr Raila Odinga leads has had a strong following in the region, but new entrants, such as Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA), have made inroads.
Prof Hassan Mwakimako, a political analyst and sociology lecturer at Pwani University, said ODM has lost its grip in some Coast counties.
“The party has weakened amid the entry of UDA, especially in Kwale. Once they lost in [the Msambweni parliamentary by-election], they allowed other parties to thrive. ODM will need to put in a lot of effort to regain its hold on the region,” he said.