The Pamoja African Alliance (PAA) party will push for the economic emancipation of the Coastal region, Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi said Wednesday.
He said the newly registered party would revive collapsed economic activities as well as decisively tackle the nagging issue of landlessness in the region through partnership with political parties that have the region’s interests at heart.
Kingi said the region had suffered economically since independence because it had been riding on the goodwill of leaders of political parties with roots in other regions, but added that this would no longer be the case following the formation of the new party.
“We now have our own political home, which we will use to table the region’s interests at the national negotiating table,” Governor Kingi said while delivering a keynote address during the first PAA Youth Leaders’ Congress at Bofa area in Kilifi Town.
More than 500 youths from Kilifi, Tana River, Taita Taveta and Kwale counties attended the convention during which they launched a country-wide campaign to popularize the party.
Mr. Kingi, who is believed to be the defacto leader of the party, said the region would only cooperate with political formations keen on championing the economic wellbeing of the locals.
He said because the region’s leaders had sojourned in other regions’ political parties, they had been treated as strangers, and thus unable to push for their political and economic interests.
He said the tourism, coconut, bixa and cashew nut sub sectors had been left to collapse while many jobs had been lost following the establishment of dry ports in Nairobi and Naivasha that had forced clearing and forwarding companies to either close shop or relocate.
He complained that successive governments, while providing funds to revive tea, coffee, sugar-cane and miraa farming, had failed to do the same for the revival of the key cash crops in the region as well as the tourism sector, thus rendering hundreds of residents jobless.
Mr. Kingi, who spoke publicly for the first time on his association with the newly registered political formation, said Coast people would be “extremely careful” on who to partner with in the 2022 general elections.
“That is why as a region we will be careful, extremely careful, on who we partner with going forward to 2022. The time to be taken for granted is over. Whoever will desire to partner with us will have to sit and negotiate with us like other regions are doing,” he said.
He said political leaders from other regions had used the issue of landlessness and operations at the Kenya Ports Authority as a bait to woo voters, only to forgo their promises after ascending to power.
Kingi said the only people who truly believe in the revival of the Coastal economy and tackling the squatter menace were those in the PAA family since PAA stood for the two issues – the economy and settlements.
“Apart from the beaches and the Port of Mombasa, there are big industries that have collapsed such as coconut, cashew nut and bixa in Kwale. We have seen industries being revived, but none from this region. We have seen billions being taken to revive certain crops, but none from this region. Why? Because we don’t have a vehicle to champion our issues,” he said.
PAA National Youth Leader Sammy Nyundo said the youths would vigorously campaign for the new party country-wide, noting that it already has its presence in 31 out of the 47 counties.
He said no leader should claim that the Coast region is their political bedroom, saying the region would rally behind PAA and those wishing to have a foothold there would have to go through the new party.