By Ann Mburu
The Kilifi gubernatorial race is projected to be a contest between three political heavyweights with each claiming majority support.
Amason Kingi of ODM, Jubilee’s Gideon Mung’aro and Kazungu Kambi of KADU Asili are among those who have thrown their hats in the ring in a region where support among the various Mijikenda sub tribes more often than not determine who takes the day.
Others are independent candidate James Mangi and Benjamin Dadu of ANC.
An erstwhile ODM fort, the region is seen to be slowly warming to the government following a sustained onslaught by the jubilee administration which has initiated multibillion shillings projects in the area.
Besides the land question, poverty, education and health, provision of water and food security remains characteristic of the campaign rhetoric.
Incumbent Amason Kingi is banking on a host of development projects initiated during his tenure in areas of agriculture, infrastructure, education, and health to win him a second term.
His critics however argue that the governor has missed the mark.
Mung’aro, a one-time ally of ODM leader Raila Odinga, left the party following what he termed irreconcilable differences.
He has since been working with the Jubilee government arguing that he is keen to bring development to the region once elected into office.
With an area covering 12,245.90 square kilometers, the county is home to seven of the nine Mijikenda sub tribes.
The seven are, Giriama, Chonyi, Kauma, Kambe, Rabai, Ribe and Jibana, Digo and Duruma, with the remaining three sub tribes spread across Kwale County. Like in 2013, the seat appears to be a reserve of the Giriama with the incumbent and his opponents originating from the sub tribe.
The incumbent governor got the bulk of his votes from Kaloleni and Rabai constituencies during the last elections which are Kazungu Kambi’s stronghold. The former CS represented the larger Kaloleni Constituency in the National Assembly before it was split into two to create Rabai in 2013.
With his five point agenda, Kambi says Kilifi has been left behind as other regions reap the benefits of devolution something he is keen to change if given a chance to be the new Kilifi governor once he is sworn into office.
But even as the contestants scramble for votes, opinion among the electorate on who is the best suited candidate to become their next governor remains sharply divided.
In the 2013 general election, Kilifi county registered 336,410 voters with this year’s numbers going up to 508,068 registered voters.
Having voted predominantly for the opposition in the 2013 general elections, jubilee government is seen set to change the voting patterns as they traverse the coast region to get a slice of it.