Rumours of a new regional party in the coast region has been the talk of town for the past one month. This political liberation push was met with strong criticism from several political kingpins and one of the key ideators; Governor Kingi made a U-turn. Although we cannot prove that it was due to a coercive strategy of some of those whose interest were on the line, we can look at how one regional party from the area would have impacted on not only the coast region but also on the whole nation.
Let’s go back to the post-election period in 2008, studies showed that there was a significant increase in public expressions of secessionists feeling in the region. And in 2011 and 2012, the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) emerged as a prominent player in the region’s politics. However, they were quashed by the government in a wave of political and PR attacks that included rumours of the group’s link with Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia.
The region clearly has a dark political history which is a major concern for the existing ‘dynasties.’
In addition to these political tensions, the regions remains fairly underdeveloped compared to the rest of the country despite its immense economic potential.
A unified political party from the region would be of great benefit to the people in the region. Many politicians rushed to the media to express their biased concern on the implications such a party could have on the country, but in real sense, they are worried for their own political ambitions and parties.
Raila Odinga who has relied on the regions votes for a long time is worried sick. He casually urged those agitating for a new regional party to join other major parties. However, what he forgot to mention is that he does not treat ODM party as a party with national outlook but as his own.
Jubilee and ODM have always presented themselves as parties looking at the national interest but it is the opposite, regional interests come first.
A good example is how Jubilee has failed the NFD region, Mandera Wajir and Garissa have each given the Jubilee party average wins of 95% of the votes in the last two elections. They are now forgotten and left in the mercy of rogue extremists.
We can argue that even if the region forms a united political party, they would still lack individuals with prime political careers that can unite not only the region, but also the whole nation. They can hold hands with other marginalized regions and build a strong political alliance to challenge the ‘dynasties.’
Nairobi-based journalist and writer covering domestic and regional politics, players and policies. Focusing on the bigger picture in a modern contemporary world.