Awiti woos Mi­jik­enda with mnazi protests

There are about 130,000 reg­is­tered vot­ers from the com­mu­nity in Mom­basa

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties - BRIAN OTIENO @Yo­bramos4

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.

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