The resurgence of independent candidates riding on grievances that last month’s party primaries were flawed has set the stage for a bruising political battle in Mombasa County.
A group of more than 100 aspirants yesterday maintained that ODM, UDA and Wiper primaries in the port city were shambolic.
The three parties dished out direct tickets to the most popular candidates in the city, effectively locking out those who had demanded that the party use universal suffrage.
Yesterday, members of the group said they had not identified a governor or presidential candidate to support in the August 9 General Election.
They said by contesting as independent candidates, they are offering Mombasa voters the opportunity to choose their own leaders freely in August.
“We want to work with like-minded gubernatorial and presidential candidates. We have a huge following. After the flawed nominations, we decided to unite to form a formidable force. Political parties should not hoodwink the electorate,” said the group’s chairperson, Mohammed Amir, who is vying for the Mombasa senatorial seat.
Mr Amir decamped from UDA to vie as an independent candidate after Hamisi Mwaguya was handed a direct ticket.
Mr Aziza Mbuzi, a former chairman of UDA ward representative aspirants, warned that the party risks losing votes in Mombasa.
He said the independent aspirants movement should not be underestimated.
“There are people in UDA who are selfish, they will dent your campaigns. You are losing supporters because of bad leadership in this region. Those who were given certificates are not strong candidates. They lack grassroots support, which is why they have not been campaigning,” Mr Mbuzi said.
Politician Joyce Obengele, a Shanzu ward representative aspirant, said women candidates have been mistreated by political parties.
“Men were given priority, that is why many of us decided to vie independently. Women’s empowerment is crucial. We are the stronger candidates who were rigged out during party primaries,” she said.
Businessman Ibrahim Dube, an independent aspirant for the Tononoka ward seat, said they have decided to form the caucus to push their agenda and bring political change in Mombasa.
“We are engaging many people but some independent presidential candidates have approached us, they want our support and supporters. To voters, you would rather elect an independent candidate who has no loyalty to any political party and will not be influenced. Elect us, we are the alternative watchdog,” said Mr Dube.