The fallacious article by Hamisi Mwaguya in The Coast newspaper titled, ‘A Coast Political Party – Is Putting the Cart Before the Horse?’, cannot go unchallenged because it is a stark-naked distortion of facts. It is a conscientious tragedy for such conjured narrative to come from a denizen, whose mindset is undoubtedly still in the old political penitentiary. Mwaguya is in regrettable obscurity, and not in touch with the momentous unity schmaltz reverberating across the region. His article is ambiguous, deceptive, and lacks intellectual analytical theorem on the subject he purports to address.
Firstly, Mwaguya has made a false depiction of the formation of a new political party. Where did he get this story about a new party? Is it factual information or just tittle-tattle from the streets and drinking dens? What is the proposed name for the new party?
The right picture on the ground is that there are movements that have surfaced advocating for the unity of the Coast people. These unity offshoots, inter alia, are Umoja Wa Wapwani, Agenda Pwani Mageuzi, and Mwamko Mpya Pwani. They are not political parties but advocacy groups engrossed in the unity discourse.
Secondly, his assertion that lack of unifying mantra was the reason existing political parties have failed to survive, is a discernible ignorance that is perturbing for a person of his stature. Which mantra other than the current conundrums the region has grappled with for decades? Challenges such as loss of jobs in the maritime sectors and transport along the Northern Corridor, antique land injustices, marginalization, exclusion, and systemic economic deprivation, as perpetuated by subsequent governments, are obvious mantras that have always resonated in every Coast resident’s consciousness.
Unbeknown to Mwanguya, Coast political parties are still active and kicking; Kadu Asili, Shirikisho, Devolution, Chama Cha Uzalendo, Umoja Summit Party of Kenya, etc. All these are active and some even won seats in the 2017 election. Only Republican Congress folded and merged with Jubilee. Which are these Coast parties Mr. Hamisi Mwaguya was referring to?
In his spurious article, Mr. Hamisi also contends that ‘any political party that lacks strong grassroots support and is formed based on egoism will not serve the long-term aspirations of the region’. While this statement is valid, it appears that Mwaguya is unaware that the unprecedented wave of unity comes from the Coast masses.
Revenue Allocation formula
Mwaguya should have consulted even kindergarten children from Maganyakulo so that they can advise him on the obvious concerns and interests already in the public domain, which unify the Coast communities. The most recent ones include the contentious Commissioner on Revenue Allocation (CRA) sharing formula; the directive by the national government for all imported cargo to be transported by SGR, an order that has undesirably affected the Coast economy; the badgering malignant land quandary; the dead coconut, cashew nut and bixa sectors, amongst others. What new interests did the writer want to hear? Is he an alien from Jupiter who has just fallen from the sky a few hours ago?
A Government that is in power formulates and implements laws, policies, budgets, development programs, and projects. Political process form governments. Therefore, social, and economic developments depend on established political processes and structures. No region, community, or tribe can have an economic voice, without a political voice. No region, community, or tribe can have economic freedom, without political freedom.
The right environment for unity
Coast challenges are political because of deliberate discriminative policies by various régimes since independence and therefore require a political solution. If the region wishes to progress, it must first get a permanent seat at the national political dinner table. Currently, we are just on the menu, devoured by brazen hyenas and wolves who are less concerned about our wellbeing. The fact that previous attempts have failed is not a justification that this present endeavor will also fail. We are determined.
Everything has its own right time, and for the Coast unity agenda, this is the moment. There is a conducive political environment for our people to come together and make it a reality.