Candidates calculate their chances as campaigns start

Supporters of ODM candidate for the Msambweni parliamentary seat Omar Boga cheer him together with Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho at the IEBC offices in Msambweni, Kwale County, last Friday. The by-election will be held on December 15.

What you need to know:

  • The battle line has been drawn between ODM leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto, through their lieutenants — for now.
  • Mr Bader also has the support of Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya and that of late MP Dori’s family from Gazi.

Political bigwigs have started flexing their muscles in Msambweni, Kwale County, where a parliamentary by-election is scheduled for December 15, with highly charged campaigns.

The battle line has been drawn between ODM leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto, through their lieutenants — for now.

The ODM team, led by Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, is drumming up support for their candidate, Omar Boga, while Dr Ruto of Jubilee fronts independent candidate Feisal Bader.

Other leaders who are eyeing the  seat are independents Sharlet Mariam Akinyi, Mansury Kumaka and Charles Bilali, Wiper’s Shee Abdulrahman, Ali Hassan Mwakulonda of Party of Economic Democracy, Marere Wamwachai of National Vision Party and Khamis Mwakaonje of United Green Movement.

Mr Boga and Mr Bader have emerged as the frontrunners in the scramble for the 68,500 votes.

Mr Boga is banking on his vote-rich Bongwe/Gombato ward where he served as the area MCA.

The ward, which has 17,538 voters, has remained Mr Boga’s stronghold. He had used it to battle it out with the late Msambweni MP Suleiman Dori.

Party nominations

Political observers have noted that Mr Boga is also expecting to garner a good number of votes in Ukunda ward, which has 21,500 votes. Mr Bader, whose father is from the ward, will, however, give Mr Boga some hard time in the area.

The Saturday Nation has learnt that Mr Boga is looking at the support of Ukunda MCA Omar Kitengelee, who was elected on an ODM ticket, and Kwale branch vice chairman Nicholas Zani.

Mr Zani has thrown his support behind Mr Boga after losing to him in the party nominations.

In Kinondo ward, where there are 11,014 voters, Mr Boga is looking at support from the area MCA Omar Hamisi Pweza, who was also elected on an ODM ticket, while Mr Bader is pinning his hopes on Mr Juma Maone, who was defeated by Mr Pweza in the ward by-election in 2018.

Despite little support from Kinondo, the Saturday Nation has learnt that Mr Bader has high hopes of clinching the seat through Ramisi ward, which has 18,569 voters.

In Ramisi ward, Mr Bader is banking on the votes of the Wakifundi from Bodo/Shirazi and Kigwende. It is in the Ramisi ward that two aspirants, Peter Nzuki and Bashir Kilalo, come from. They withdrew their candidature to support Mr Bader.

Mr Bader also has the support of Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya and that of late MP Dori’s family from Gazi.

Mr Mvurya has officially endorsed Mr Bader for the seat and urged Msambweni residents not to be swayed by the ODM party wave.

Development projects

Last Thursday, Mr Bader’s supporters led by MPs Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga), Benjamin Tayari (Kinango), Didmus Barasa (Kimilili) together with former senators Hassan Omar (Mombasa), Johnson Muthama (Machakos) and Boni Khalwale (Kakamega), among others, pitched camp in Msambweni to campaign for their aspirant.

Mr Mwashetani and Mr Tayari, who is a member of ODM, asked residents to vote for Mr Bader to honour the late Dori.

“We worked with Mr Dori and because we know the agenda he had for his people, we are asking you to give Feisal a chance to complete all the development projects that he started,” said Mr Mwashetani.

Mr Tayari said despite him being a member of the ODM, he believes the right candidate for the seat is Mr Bader. Former Senator Omar, who is leading the campaigns backed by the DP, said historically relatives of those who were holding seats have been given a chance when the office holders happen to die.

“That is what has happened and we will ensure that happens here. Feisal Abdallah has the support of Dori’s family,” he said.

In a rejoinder, Governor Joho who is leading the ODM team, said they will pitch tent in Msambweni to ensure their candidate Mr Omar Boga wins the seat.

“As a party, a we are ready for the by-election because we have an agenda for the people of Msambweni,” he said. “We want to give the people of Msambweni the leadership they deserve through voting for Mr Boga,.

Mr Orengo said Mr Boga would emerge victorious in the forthcoming by-election because Msambweni is an ODM zone.

“With Governor Joho leading the campaigns and Boga as both an ODM and handshake candidate, we will definitely win this seat,” he said, while also calling the various candidates to conduct their campaigns peacefully.

Mr Mohammed said they are going to win the seat just like they did in the Kibra by-election.

Tana River Governor Dadho Godana said they are going to reclaim the seat because the region is an ODM stronghold.

“I know Mr Boga as a hardworking leader who steer development agendas for the people of Msambweni,” he said.

Speaking to journalists after being awarded the IEBC certificate to vie for the Msambweni ODM candidate Mr Boga said he is ready to face his opponents.

He exuded confidence of emerging the winner in the by-election that has attracted at least 11 aspirants.

Mr Boga said he has an agenda for the people of Msambweni to transform their lives through empowering women and youth by engaging them in incoming generating activities.

“I have an agenda for the people of Msambweni because they deserve a good leadership that will look into their problems ailing them and finding solutions. People are currently playing politics but my main aim is to empower women and youth, creating jobs and defending their land rights,” he said.

Other leaders who accompanied Mr Boga to present his nomination papers include Kwale Woman Rep Zuleikha Hassan, Senator Issa Juma Boy, Badi Twalib (Jomvu) who has since ditched DP Ruto.

amohamed@ke.nationmedia.com, ffredrick@ke.nationmedia.com