Kenyan High Commissioner to Tanzania Dan Kazungu is the latest entrant in the hot Kilifi governor race to succeed Amason Kingi in the next general election. Kazungu is a former Malindi MP and also served as cabinet secretary for
Mining before his appointment to Dar es Salaam as High Commissioner.
Recently, he hosted a group of political activists from Kilifi who call themselves ODM youth league led by one Nyundo in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where among other things, it was agreed that they should start marketing his bid through social media and other avenues as a way of testing the ground. Indeed, the group upon return from TZ sent a social media post claiming ODM top leadership had changed its plan to field Gideon Mung’aro, the CAS for Lands as its candidate for Kilifi governor seat and have substituted him with Kazungu.
In the post, the activists claimed the party has made this decision after realizing that Mung’aro is a poor political schemer who cannot deliver the governor seat to ODM. Nyundo is a close associate of Magarini MP Michael Kingi who is also eyeing the governor’s seat and is the younger brother of Governor Kingi. It is claimed Mung’aro has become the common political enemy of all the governor aspirants who view him as enjoying an upper hand after vague endorsement by ODM which has a fanatical following in the county. Governor Kingi is also said to be in a dilemma about Mung’aro.
Even though he is not his choice of successor, he is unable to fight him openly for fear that such a move would provoke ODM leader Raila Odinga. In the last general elections, Mung’aro contested for the Kilifi governor seat on a Jubilee party ticket and lost to Kingi due to the then resistance against Uhuruto in the county. The move by Raila to bring on board Mung’aro to ensure ODM wins the seat has seen Kilifi North MP Owen Baya who was eyeing the governor’s seat on an ODM ticket defect to William Ruto’s side.
However, the move has confused Owen’s supporters who do not see how Ruto will back the MP’s governor ambitions when he already has Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa as his point person and governor candidate. But close associates of the MP say he has positioned himself in the hustler camp as an alternative for Ruto with an expectation that Jumwa’s corruption and murder cases will not have ended before the next general elections. Owen is counting on his overseas donors behind his foundation which he started when he was Kilifi county secretary and Mombasa Cement director Hasmuk Patel to meet the cost of his governor campaigns.
Mombasa Cement owners are reportedly indebted to Owen for standing with them against hundreds of Kilifi county squatters who are demanding land which the company allegedly grabbed. On the other hand, Mung’aro ever since he was MP for Malindi and Kilifi North constituencies has been vigorously pushing the cement manufacturer to surrender the land to the landless squatters.
This reportedly forced Mombasa Cement to campaign against the CAS in the last general elections for fear that if he became governor, he would use the position to fight them over the land, something Owen is still capitalizing on. Kilifi senator Stewart Madzayo, a close ally of Raila and who does not see eye-to-eye with Jumwa has endorsed Mung’aro. Though the senator’s supporters had wanted him to contest the governor’s seat, he has announced he would defend his seat instead and has thrown his weight behind the CAS.