He is youthful, handsome and likeable—at least this is what his admirers say. He is also sociable—the kind of person Chinua Achebe would call A Man of The People.
Welcome to the world of Owen Baya, the amiable Kilifi North Member of Parliament. It is a world imbued with political successes and claims of chest thumping.
Baya wants to succeed Governor Amason Kingi in 2022. He possibly will face Kilifi’s iron lady Aisha Jumwa, Kilifi south MP Ken Chonga, former Kilifi North MP Gideon Mung’aro, Kilifi deputy governor Gideon Saburi, Magarini MP Michael Kingi and many others.
Baya stands a better chance to win the seat if he plays his cards well. In 2013 and 2017, Baya played a pivotal role in governor Kingi’s campaigns. He also ran his campaign for the Kilifi north seat independently without taking shelter on the shadow of Governor Kingi.
If he maintains his track record, Baya will have an easy sail to victory in 2022. In order for Baya to win the seat, he should adjust his political sails to the direction of the wind.
Recently, Baya has been engaging in social media spats with small boys who could easily pock holes into his political boat and ruin his political voyage. he should leave such squabbles to his foot soldiers.
His main challenger for the seat, Aisha Jumwa is also a force to reckon with. She may not match Baya’s education but she is a great strategist. Aisha is a woman of history, in a blink of an eye, she could easily scatter Baya’s strategies.
What can weigh him down?
Baya has been given the bossy tag by keyboard warriors who spend their time behind smart phones and computers. They are mostly the youth who if they make their physical presence more than their online presence during the campaigns, Baya’s brigade will face it rough.
The ghost of Rain Drops tender still hovers on the minds of many in Kilifi county. The tender to collect revenue on behalf of the county was signed when he was the county secretary hence it is perceived he had an upper hand in the award of the tender. In his own words, Baya advised the government against signing the tender. Currently, Baya is doing well in the political scene and if he will be able to adjust his antennae to the right direction, a repeat of 2017 is inevitable.
Who is Owen Baya?
According to records, Owen Baya attended Dabaso Primary School and St. Georges High school, before he enrolled at Kenyatta University, for a Bachelor of Education (Arts). He later enrolled for Master of Education (Economics and Planning in Education) at the same University. He is currently pursuing a doctorate at Carl Von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Germany.
By his own account, Baya is self-made. He typifies the American saying ‘from a Jack to A King’. As a youth Baya did menial jobs in Malindi and Watamu before joining college. Between 2002 and 2003, Baya worked as a communication consultant with the Municipal council of Malindi and later joined the Coast Institute of Technology as the deputy principal.
He joined Pwani University as a lecturer and was later promoted to be the deputy registrar, a position he held until 2013 where he left the teaching profession and joined Kilifi county government as the County secretary.
In 2017, he successfully contested the Kilifi North parliamentary seat. He is probably the most vocal MP from the coast region.
Also Read: This man Kingi: A coward or a strategist?
Baya has so far spoken 200 times in parliament. This year he made 21 speeches, last year 157 and in 2017, 22 speeches. Immediately after his election, Baya faulted his ODM party on how the party was awarding positions to members from other regions while sidelining Kilifi County. He at times took Mombasa governor head on and even decided to work with deputy president William Ruto against the wish of his party.
Ever since 2017 Baya started as a fierce critic of the government and her policies, he later toned down after the handshake. He turned his gun on his two political seniors, Kilifi governor Amason Kingi and his Mombasa counterpart Hassan Joho. He wants them to take the lead in uniting the region ahead of 2022. He is positioning himself to take over the coast’s political kingship should the two shy off.