Awiti woos Mijikenda with mnazi protests
There are about 130,000 registered voters from the community in Mombasa
Nyali MP Hezron Awiti continues to woo the Mijikenda community as he seeks to unseat Governor Hassan Joho.
On Monday, he led protests against the harassment of mnazi vendors. “It was a show of unity with the oppressed,” Awiti’s ally Simon Adalla said yesterday. There are more than 10,000 mnazi vendors in Mombasa. The majority are from Nyali and Kisauni constituencies.
Awiti said, “Mnazi has become the Mijikenda people’s gold, since their other gold – land – was grabbed.” The legality of mnazi, a traditional brew, has been a subject of discussion among politicians. Police have been accused of using the confusion to extort money from the vendors. Mnazi traders have gone to court to demand the sale of the brew be declared legal.
Awiti is counting on Coast Parliamentary Group chairman Gunga Mwinga for support to win over the Mijikenda. Mwinga will run for Kilifi North MP against incumbent Gideon Mung’aro.
IEBC records show there are about 130,000 registered Mijikenda voters in Mombasa. The community voted overwhelmingly for Joho in 2013.
Former CPG chairman Mung’aro considers himself the Mijikenda kingpin, but Mwinga has slowly been wooing the community using his Kadu Asili party.
Kadu Asili is a Coast party the Mijikenda associate themselves with. Mung’aro supports the Jubilee Party. But the Coast is considered an opposition stronghold.