Rabai factor crops up in Kilifi governor race

Rabai factor crops up in Kilifi governor race


Kilifi deputy governor Gideon Saburi has declared his interest in succeeding his boss Governor Amason Jeffa Kingi in next year’s general elections.

Amason Jeffa Kingi

Saburi who served as a county executive committee member during Kingi’s first term, was selected as Kingi’s running mate in 2017 after the governor fell out with his former deputy Kenneth Kamto.

Saburi and the late Kamto have roots among the Rabai sub-tribe of the Mijikenda and it seems those wishing to take over the Kilifi gubernatorial position, especially from the Giriama tribe always court the Rabai by choosing a running mate from the community.

Gideon Mung’aro

According to Saburi, Rabais have produced two deputy governors and now Giriamas need to back them. Saburi, during the burial of Ruth Kombo, the mother to former Ruruma MCA Naftali Kombo, disclosed his aspirations. During the burial, Rabai MP William Kamoti, MCAs and aspiring politicians for various seats in the county agreed to back Saburi as the community was ready for the top seat and called for unity among them in order for one of them to occupy it.

Stewart Madzayo

Others eyeing the county plum seat include lands and physical planning chief administrative secretary Gideon Mung’aro, Kilifi senator Stewart Madzayo, outspoken Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa and her Magarini counterpart Michael Kingi.

It is not clear whether former Kaloleni MP and National Lands Commissioner Kazungu Kambi will throw his hat into the ring even as reports indicate that Kilifi North MP Owen Baya, who had earlier declared his interest in the seat, withdrew from the race.

Kambi contested the seat in 2017 coming a distant third and his petition against Kingi’s election victory was dismissed by the election court in 2018. Saburi found himself in the eye of a storm in March last year after being accused of deliberately spreading the deadly Covid-19 following an alleged trip to Europe. A case in which Saburi was accused of the offence crumbled before reaching the hearing stage raising questions.