Deputy President William Ruto has moved to quell tensions in the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) as divisions rock the party in Coast.
The outfit is facing teething problems as it seeks to penetrate a region that has largely supported Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga.
In his five-day tour, the DP has had to address disgruntled supporters, with many claiming party officials have been favouring some members.
The DP assured them that UDA will hold free and fair nominations ahead of 2022.
“Nominations will be free, fair and democratic. Nobody will be given a free ride. There will be no direct nomination unless we have only one candidate. I guarantee you that,” the DP told supporters at Wild Waters Park in Mombasa.
He said this even as he drummed up support for some candidates.
In Kwale, the DP endorsed Deputy Governor Fatuma Achani to succeed Governor Salim Mvurya, who is serving his final term. Ms Achani is among 23 female leaders angling for gubernatorial positions across the country.
In Mombasa, the presumed UDA boss campaigned for former senator Hassan Omar Sarai, who is seeking to succeed Governor Hassan Joho. He also campaigned for Jomvu parliamentary hopeful Karisa Nzai and his Mvita counterpart Omar Shallo.
“God willing, Sarai will be the Mombasa governor in 2022, the same way I want you to support Mr Nzai and Mr Shallo, who are vying for parliamentary seats,” he said.
Mr Shallo, a Mombasa businessman, joined UDA after defecting from Jubilee recently. In the 2017 polls, he came second after garnering 11,063 votes while Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir garnered 46, 575.
UDA official Mohammed Salim said some members were boasting how they would be given direct nominations due to their close relations with the DP, but the tour resolved the divisions.
“We’ve decided to put the party first; our country is bigger than our needs. We’ve decided to forge forward, we want peace and harmony. We’ve to ensure we get more voters by registering more members,” he said.
No special candidate
Mr Salim added: “We’re all equal. Don’t think you’re better than any of us. We will all undergo nominations; there is no special candidate. We’ve also resolved to work with Sarai. The DP has united all of us; we’re all in one house.”
A section of UDA members had asked the former senator not to vie for the gubernatorial post in 2022 because they were lobbying for Nyali MP Mohamed Ali to be the party’s flagbearer.
The legislator, however, refuted claims of squabbles between him and other Mombasa UDA gubernatorial hopefuls.
“There are no divisions. Forget about what people are saying,” Mr Ali said.
Other than Mr Omar, other leaders seeking to succeed Mr Joho are Mr Nassir (ODM), Kisauni MP Ali Mbogo (Wiper), deputy governor William Kingi (ODM) and Mr Suleiman Shahbal (ODM).