Leaders from Rabai in Kilifi county on Friday protested what they termed the harassment of Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa by the state.
The leaders, led by Mariam Mkumbi, said Jumwa’s troubles are characteristic of the tactics used to suppress coastal kingpins historically.
“Over the years, the government has been making sure that Coast residents do not benefit from the natural resources found in the region. That is why any leader who emerges and tries to fight for their people is suppressed,” she said.
They spoke during a meeting at Serani sportsground in Mombasa.
Jumwa if facing multiple court cases that she and her supporters believe were politically instigated.
This week the Director of Public Prosecutions recommended a murder charge against her following the killing of a man during last year’s Ganda ward by-election.
She is also to be charged with assault, alongside Geoffrey Okuto Otieno.
She is a staunch ally of Deputy President William Ruto, who has been ostracised by the government due to his differences with his boss, President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Mohammed Matifo, a political activist, said Jumwa poses a threat to the powers that be because she has been enlightening Kilifi and Coast residents on their rights.
Matifo said the powers that be are uncomfortable with Jumwa’s growing political clout because they fear she is a Ronald Ngala in the making.
“R G Ngala was our shining light. After his death, we became orphans. Then God brought us Karisa Maitha who gave us hope but he too was taken away from us early. Now God has brought us Aisha Jumwa and the system now wants to silence her,” he said.
Matifo criticised the system for using sycophant Coast leaders to bring down other coastal leaders it deems a threat.
He said the government uses divide and rule to scuttle any attempt to unify the Coast.
“They know that once we are united as a region, we will be strong. That is what they do not want. They want us to remain weak so they can exploit our resources for their own selfish benefits,” Matifo said.
“We are not fighting anyone. We are fighting for our rights.”
Mkumbi said in Kenya, one must align themselves to politically correct factions to survive, which creates sycophantic leaders who will sell their own people to remain in power.
She said state agencies such as the Judiciary are being used to fight Jumwa.
“In Kenya, where you lean towards determines whether you live peacefully or not. Some people have done worse things and have worse cases in court but they walk freely and peacefully,” Mkumbi said.
“When you are on the right side, you are allowed to break the law. When you are in the wrong side, it is wrong to break the law.”
Nathan Ngwele, an elder in Rabai, said there has been a push for Rabai leaders and residents to align themselves with a certain faction.
He said they will stick with Jumwa.
“She is the leader we recognise and will stand by her side to the end,” Ngwele said.
Edited by Josephine M. Mayuya