There is a new storm building in the Coast that threatens to cut the umbilicus of the region from ODM and Jubilee, the two major penitentiaries that have made the area their preferred minefield for political prisoners. The wave has taken by surprise regional bigwigs, some of who were jostling for the two major party tickets, as sure bets to get into power. The call for a Coast-based Party to enable the region stand on its own feet has received massive support from the Coast masses. The recent entrants into this debate are Coast Bishops who have vowed to lead their flocks in ensuring this dream becomes a reality.
The Umoja Wa Wapwani consciousness has awakened a sleeping populace, often typecast with sleeping under a coconut tree waiting for nuts to fall. The people have realized that their long grappling with historical marginalization can only be addressed through a strong voice; a voice that will give them bargaining power at the national political amphitheater.
The black smoke of SGR
When the government issued an order that all cargo containers were to be railed by Standard Gauge Railway, it marked the painful chapter of the dwindling of economic fortunes of the Port City of Mombasa, and collapse of all businesses along the northern corridor. Over 10,000 direct jobs were lost, affecting hundreds of thousands of households. When Nyali MP Hon. Mohamed Ali sponsored a motion to censor CS Macharia,Coast MPs were coerced by their parties not to support it. It collapsed before reaching the floor of the House.
Before the dust could settle, the Jubilee purge on Parliamentary Committee membership where legislators linked to the Deputy President were expelled created positions that were scrambled and occupied by ODM lawmakers and their Jubilee counterparts from other areas, except the Coast region. Moreover, one man, one vote, one shilling revenue sharing formula exacerbated the situation. The unpopular sharing criterion was being merchandised by Central, Nyanza, and Rift valley regions which were to be the biggest beneficiaries, while the Coast and North Eastern were going to lose billions. This created an unprecedented standoff in the Senate. For the first time in the history of this nation, President Uhuru Kenyatta and political octogenarian and ODM leader Raila Odinga had their orders to support the discriminatory Bill defied.
Clamour for Coast-based Party
The events aroused the consciousness of the Coast people who came to the realization that the region is not being taken seriously. It is ignored and pushed to the peripheral corners of the dining table. Elected leaders are forced to serve the interests of parties under which they were elected, at the expense of the needs and interests of the people. They are often threatened with party disciplinary actions or having EACC investigators sent to their CDF offices if they don’t tow the Party lines.
It is from this fulcrum point that the need to have a Coast-based political vehicle under which Coast legislators would go to Parliament, burgeoned. The Party will give the region much needed independent political voice free from outside party influence, manipulation, and intimidation while addressing pertinent issues affecting the Coast community.
While ODM and Jubilee gatekeepers have tried with their usual braggadocio to water down the new wave, often struggling to brand it a Ruto movement, the matter has received shocking support from the grassroots. Local FM stations have been abuzz with this subject. Places of eateries, drinking joints, political gatherings, and along the streets; the conversation is always the same: a Coast-based political Party.
Identification and branding of one of the already existing parties whose roots are from the region is seemingly the path that the movement is likely to follow.
Politics is truly dynamic.