Kilifi North MP Gideon Mung’aro
Rebel Opposition MP Gideon Mung’aro has ended months of silence over his links with the Orange Democratic Movement by announcing that he would not use the party’s ticket to vie for the Kilifi governor’s seat next year.
Speaking in Kaloleni-Giriama on Saturday, the Kilifi North MP said he had officially “divorced” Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) and would challenge Governor Amason Kingi on a different political party ticket, which he did not name.
His announcement came at the end of a week of political rabble-rousing within ODM during which Cord leader Raila Odinga was forced to read the riot act on rebel MPs within the Opposition coalition, who are seen within Cord as gravitating towards the ruling Jubilee coalition.
On Wednesday last week, Mr Odinga mobilised loyal MPs, elders and professionals to stem the rebellion within his party, and later met three of the nine western Kenya MPs who, like Mr Mung’aro, had triggered internal discontent and assured them the party would resolve their issues.
MPs Silverse Anami (Shinyalu), Geofrey Odanga (Matayos) and Raphael Otaalo (Lurambi) were joined by woman representatives Dorcas Kedogo (Shinyalu) and Florence Mutua (Busia) during the meeting at Mr Odinga’s Capitol Hill offices in Nairobi.
The MPs later addressed the media and said they had presented their grievances. “We had a meeting with Mr Odinga and discussed some of the issues raised in Wednesday’s press conference. We are glad the concerns are being addressed,” said Mr Anami. But Mr Mung’aro, while addressing a news briefing after attending the 40th celebration of priesthood of Fr Henry Katana at St Barnabas Catholic Church on Saturday, seemed to ignore Mr Odinga’s overtures, announcing instead that he was about to launch “a major campaign to take the Coast region to the government”.
“I am warning ODM leader Raila Odinga to keep off Coast issues because we are capable of making our own decisions,” he said.
Just hours earlier, several Cord leaders who were attending the burial ceremony of nominated MCA Grace Mboja in Rabai had pressured the ODM leader to kick out rebel MPs for the sake of the coalition’s unity. “How do you allow people to continue drawing their salaries through ODM and then disrespect the same party that is giving them a chance to place food on their tables?” asked Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi.
But Mung’aro responded by saying the “belief that Kilifi and coast are ODM zone should stop”.
NOT IN AGENDA
Pressed to name which party he would join for next year’s elections, Mr Mung’aro, who has led a Coast rebellion since he was kicked out as Cord Chief Whip early in the year, and deposed as Coast Parliamentary Group (CPG) chairman, declined, only saying that “we will cross the bridge when we reach there”.
Mr Mung’aro’s public utterances against Cord are seen within party ranks as veiled jabs against Mr Odinga, who during the Rabai meeting asked coastal residents to remain firm in the opposition coalition, saying it is the team to beat in 2017.