How did it happen?
The Coast MPs now rebelling and cursing ODM and Gov. Ali Hassan Joho were beneficiaries of ODM and Gov. Joho’s ‘line up’ and ‘party machine’ politics which ended up rigging out or not giving support to real ODM footsoldiers, many who were either poor or lacked the power and influence that comes with proximity to the party, or the party leadership.
Let me reflect more on this.
Long before I settled at Orange House as Deputy Director of Communications for the ODM Party (I have since exited to give way to another young party loyalist) the former Ps Eng. Carey Orege, then heading Okoa Kenya referendum Secretariat, sent me to Mombasa to collect Okoa Kenya signature collection booklets.
I was to pick the books in Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi Counties. I had to create a list of all the party officials and ask them to give me the books to return to Nairobi. Time was running out. We had fallen short of the IEBC signature threshold and worse, most of the signatures had come from one region of the country – Luo Nyanza.
I took a bus to Mombasa and a ferry to Kwale. There, I was lucky to easily get in touch with Nick Zani (brother to Dr. Agnes Zani) and a few other local party officials. Kwale struck me as a real ODM grassroots base. The senior party official then, Governor Salim Mvurya, had opposed the referendum as he had started gravitating towards Jubilee. So it was left for junior party officials to get out the signatures.
Nothing much had happened in Kwale. No booklet was full of signatures and I suspected the ones that were full had been filled by exasperated party officials, perhaps from Mpesa booths!
In Kwale not only did I collect the signatures but I ended up arbitrating a simmering dispute as to which group were the bona fide party officials. Of course I failed. Tony Moturi has been of immense help to the party on this front. But I digress.
As I left Kwale I detoured to then Likoni MP Mwalimu Mwahima’s CDF office to also pick his booklets. By all definitions Mwahima was an illiterate. It struck me as an oxymoron that he was better known as ‘mwalimu’.
What surprised me though is that Mwahima had more booklets filled than any leader in Kwale!
Already in a fierce battle with Mishi Mboko, which he ultimately lost (and moved to Jubilee) Mwahima was the first elected leader in this region to welcome me to his office, where we chatted with constant interruptions by his constituents. Each time he would make me reintroduce myself and my mission. I relished in identifying myself as a senior party official from Nairobi, collecting Okoa Kenya referendum booklets. Some who had never seen the booklets would sign up right there and then. I have nothing but fond memories of Likoni.
Mombasa was tricky from the word go. These fellows had collected no signatures. Governor Joho had delegated the work to Major Iddris, who had delegated it to someone else, who had delegated it to someone else!
I called Senator Hassan Omar and requested him to contact Joho over the booklets. Hassan Omar promptly did so and soon Iddris called me. I had called and texted all these guys so they had my contact. They were just ignoring me.
Omar himself gave me his bundle of booklets which I picked from one of his guys near Old Town. Later I would return to offer him my personal little support in his doomed voyage to unseat Joho. With no apologies!
Next was Kilifi. I contacted the late Grace Mboja, one of ODM’s longest grassroots women mobilizers. She had no booklets but knew who had picked them and where to find them. I spent two nights at her home in Mtwapa. The poor widow with her two children treated me fairly, and hosted me most hospitably.
In Malindi I met Owen Baya, now MP. There were also some very passionate Luo immigrants who assisted me to locate the folks with the books. In most cases I got the books, but there were no signatures!
In one conspicuous case this guy (now an MP) just took the books and kept them very neatly in his office. Not even a signature. Not even his signature.
I learnt from Okoa Kenya experience that many of the loudmouths of Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi were very useless when it came to party affairs.
Many of them were just using the party.
In most instances, the people of the coastal strip are adamantly ODM than their leaders. Because of this, characters who have zilch interest in the party only brand themselves using the party to ascend to power, after which they return to their normalcy.
So here is the point of this long post: no one is rebelling against ODM in the Coast. These people were never ODM in the first place. Many are beneficiaries of patronage politics at the top levels of the ODM Party.
The real grassroots solders either lost out or were rigged to their graves, like Mama Mboja, who died a miserable, lonely death, the thanklessness of our party having driven her out to try Jubilee.
“…for those who know…”
By Dikembe Disembe