The Orange Democratic Movement Party (ODM) rapidly losing its lustre in the Coast region.
A good number of ODM foot soldiers in the region appear to be fatigued which spells doom to the success of the party in the region.
No any other region in the country embraced the party more than the coast region, not even the Nyanza region where the party leader Raila Odinga comes from. In short, Coast has been the bedrock of ODM, not anymore, the goalposts have begun to shift.
Why ODM is losing grip of the coast region
ODM’s burn out was evident in the recent tour of the region by party leader Raila Odinga. Worth noting during the visit was the missing in action of Kilifi governor Amason Kingi who was without doubt the leading ODM lieutenant in the coast region.
In the 2017 general election, Kingi delivered all the seven parliamentary seats to ODM. He also delivered the senator and woman representative seat. He went ahead and captured 27 out of the 35 county assembly seats. No governor made such a huge contribution seat wise than Amason Kingi.
No one within the ODM hierarchy has ever publicly acknowledged, appreciated, or celebrated the party’s victory in Kilifi. Morally and materially, Kilifi has been left out of the ODM national leadership.
At some point, Kingi leaned towards deputy president William Ruto’s side but backtracked when he was branded a tanga tanga governor. The governor has been at logger heads with the party after the region missed key positions which he as the Kilifi county ODM chairman expected as a return of favour.
Kingi and other ODM luminaries had fronted a native of the county to take the controller of budget position but the ODM party at national level failed to support the son of the region.
Even the Kingi-joho political relationship is gradually fading.
The handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga is one of the contributing factor that has led to ODM’s supremacy in the coast region.
As much as the handshake brought peace and tranquillity among communities, it has also jilted Opposition politics. The once-vocal Coast politicians who thrived on the politics of name-calling and personal vendetta, and fiercely criticised the Jubilee Party and its leaders — as well as imagined threats of secession of the Coast, have all suddenly gone into slumber — thanks to the handshake.
ODM’s popularity is also declining because of apathy the party leadership has shown to the voters after winning elections. In other words, the voter is only used to win the ODM elections but not to benefit from the party gains.
Whether it is nominations for parliamentary seats, or party leadership positions in both Houses of Parliament, or even nominations to Foreign Service positions and statutory boards, indigenous coastal communities have been the losers under ODM.
Coast voters have watched in perplexity as other regions have benefited from the handshake, courtesy of ODM. The rewards of voting for ODM have translated into misery, rejection and neglect for Kilifi and Coast native voters. Contrast this with the Jubilee Party’s nomination of Christine Zawadi as Senator from Ganze, one of the region’s poorest subcounties.
These are some of the factors contributing to the visible decline in ODM at the Coast. Similarly, these factors have also given rise to the rebellion by some ODM elected leaders.
The untold story among Coast natives is that they feel neglected by the ODM leadership. The leaders, on the other hand, are angry that the party leader has crossed over to Canaan alone, without them.