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Baya: Coast region not under Raila Odinga spell



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Kilifi North MP Owen Baya has insisted that the Coast region will make its own independent decision regarding its preferred 2022 presidential candidate.

Speaking only a day after meeting Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga, Mr Baya said the meeting with Mr Odinga only touched on how the region can benefit from the March 9 peace deal between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Odinga.

The lawmaker said they were in ODM to stay and they will not be intimidated, but they will make their own decision as a region in 2022.

“As we stand now, we are members of ODM because it is the party that sponsored us to Parliament. But come 2022, we will make our own choice in the region,” he said.

The legislator, who is among those who have been coalescing around Deputy President William Ruto, said they will equally support Mr Odinga should he visit the region since he is also a leader.

“Even if Raila comes to the Coast we will accompany him. Same for DP Ruto when he comes to this region; we shall accompany him. But the decision for the Coast is already made; that the coast will make its independent decision on the presidential candidate.”

Mr Baya, who along with MPs Suleiman Dori (Msambweni) and Ali Mbogo (Kisauni) met Mr Odinga on Wednesday, denied that their meeting was to mend fences with their leader after the party recommended the expulsion of Mr Dori and Ms Jumwa for their dalliance with the deputy president.

“It is not true that our meeting was meant to address the fate of Mr Dori and Ms Jumwa. We went to discuss issues that are affecting the coast. Unfortunately, we went to the meeting when things about Mr Jumwa and Mr Dori were hitting the headlines,” he said.

“Our meeting majored on the revival of the cashew nut industry and how the region can tap wealthy and riches from the blue economy, and also how to resolve the burning land issues through Mr Odinga’s influence,” Mr Baya added.

On Wednesday, Mr Baya, Mr Mbogo and Mr Dori met with Mr Odinga in what observers linked to the decision by the ODM disciplinary committee to expel Ms Jumwa and Mr Dori from the party for gross misconduct.

But Mr Odinga assured Mr Dori and Ms Jumwa that they will be given a fair hearing when they appear before the party’s National Executive Committee.

The recommendation to expel the duo together with other politicians from Nyanza was given after a meeting held at Park Place Hotel in Nairobi that was attended by Mr Odinga.

Secretary-general Edwin Sifuna said the committee recommended the removal of the two Coast MPs and seven MCAs from Homa Bay and Busia counties for gross misconduct.

The decision came after Ms Jumwa and Mr Dori appeared before the committee on October 19.