Mombasa, Kenya: CORD leaders from Mombasa launched the Okoa Kenya referendum drive in their county with a scathing attack on ODM rebels and President Uhuru Kenyatta.
They declared that CORD would prevail at the Coast in its drive to amass support for the change of the Constitution. They said President Kenyattaâ€™s recent trip to the area would not change this course, and dismissed it as a trip to buy off weak leaders committed to the status quo and narrow interests.
Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar challenged the President to a debate on the 2010 Constitution. He also accused the Head of State of encouraging disobedience of court orders, citing last weekâ€™s destruction of a drug laden ship.
Omar and Governor Hassan Ali Joho said the referendum proposed by CORD is aimed at instilling constitutionalism in the country, unlike the 2010 plebiscite.
The leaders announced the itinerary of the campaigns to gather pro-referendum signatures under what they christened the â€?Junda Declarationâ€™. A million signatures are required from across the country.
At the same meeting, Mombasa Governor Hassan Ali Joho alleged a plot by those opposed to the referendum to frustrate his business interests, in a bid to change his stance.
â€śThey are frustrating my business. Whatever I had that was benefiting me is being fought so that I can change my mind. But they should know they are hardening me, and I wonâ€™t shift my allegiance,â€ť said Joho.
As he led four MPs and 23 Mombasa County Assembly members to declare their support for the plebiscite, Joho accused Kilifi North MP Gideon Mungâ€™aro of betraying Coast people by joining the Jubilee administration.
Omar said leaders from the Coast who had shifted their allegiance to support Jubilee were doing so for their personal interests, and were being used to divide the region.
Others present during the meeting in Junda area of Kisauni constituency yesterday included area MP Rashid Bedzimba, Badi Twalib (Jomvu), Omar Mwinyi (Changamwe) and Mishi Mboko (Mombasa).
Conspicuously absent were Nyali MP Awiti Bolo, Abdulswamad Nassir (Mvita) and Mwalimu Mwahima (Likoni), but Joho said they had sent their apologies.
The governor said all Mombasa leaders have pledged their support for the change of the constitution even as other leaders castigated those that accompanied President Uhuru Kenyatta in his meet-the-people tour at the Coast a fortnight ago.
Nassir and Mwahima were among the leaders that dined with the Head of State, who made an impromptu visit to Barka Restaurant in Mombasaâ€™s Old Town, before heading to Jomo Kenyatta Public Beach.
â€śThose who have been bribed using a plate of chips should be ready to face the wrath of the Coast people,â€ť said Mboko.
Mungâ€™aro and a group of other leaders have declared their opposition to their coalitionâ€™s call for the change to the Constitution, setting the stage for a face off with the Joho-led team.
â€śWe are demanding that the port management be devolved while our colleagues are camping at the facility demanding for jobs,â€ť said the Senator in reference to last weekâ€™s visit to the facility by Mungaâ€™ro and Kilifi South MP Mustafa Idd.
Joho alleged plans to privatise the port of Mombasa, and warned that the local leaders will use all means to stop the move.
The Governor has in the past warned that he will move to the Supreme Court to force the central government to devolve port operations, saying the Constitution demands such an arrangement.
Mwinyi said that the Jubilee administration was trying to hood wick the region through funds drives, adding that what the region needs is the revival of several industries that have collapsed, including the Changamwe refinery.
By Benard Sanga, The Standard