More than 20 MPs from Coast region allied to the National Super Alliance (NASA) today accompanied Deputy President William Ruto during the launch of the construction work on the Sh 2.3 billion Baricho Bridge and approach roads along River Sabaki in Kilifi County.
The leaders also addressed wananchi in Shomani secondary school grounds in Malindi constituency before the Deputy President launched the Nyali constituency lighting program in Mombasa County.
The legislators said they have resolved to unite and work with Mr Ruto and the Government in addressing the challenges facing coastal residents.
They were Suleiman Dori (Msamweni), Ali wario (Bura) Hashaka Wario (Garsen) Owen Baya (Kilifi North) Senator Juma Wario (Tana River) Said Haribae (Golale), Senator Anuar Toitiptip (Lamu), Badi Twalib (Jomvu), Stanley Muthama (Lamu West), Danson Mwashako (Wundanyi) and Mohammed Ali (Nyali).
Others were Benjamin Tayari (Kinango) nominated Senator Christine Zawadi, Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga), Shariff Ali (Lamu East) Aisha Jumwa (Malindi), Lydia Haika (Taita Taveta), Michel Kingi (Magarini) and Gertrude Mbeyu (Kilifi).
Former MPs Gideon Mungaro and Mustapha Idd were also present.
The MPs two of whom (Ms Jumwa and Mr Dori) have been issued with summons by their party- ODM to explain their decision to work with Mr Ruto dismissed the supposed disciplinary action as a red herring.
Ms Jumwa and Mr Dori said they would not be cowed in supporting Mr Ruto.
The MPs said their quest to tackle the problems facing their people would not be derailed by individuals hell-bent on intimidating them.
Mr Dori said Coast leaders would not be silenced in their calls for a united coast region with the aim of solving problems facing their residents collectively.
He asked Opposition leaders to stop threatening them because of their decision to work with Government, saying the Building Bridges Initiative has supported their move.
“Let us stop these intimidations. Let us find ways of uniting the people of the Coast and work with the Government. We do not want to be left behind again,” said Mr Dori.
Mr Ruto said the bridge project is part of the Jubilee administration’s pledges to the people of Kilifi during the last general election.
He said the project upon completion would connect residents of Magarini and Malindi constituencies who have undergone untold nightmare over transportation challenges.
“The construction of this bridge is part of our efforts to initiate projects that have direct impact on the lives of Kenyans, “said Mr Ruto during the launch of the project.
The bridge, which would be completed in three years, will be capped by 12 kilometers of roads on each side-Lango Baya and Baricho.
Mr Ruto who is on his second-day-development tour of Coast region said time for political competition was over, urging leaders to now focus their energies on matters of development so as to transform the lives of Kenyans.
“We should now focus our energies on the construction of roads, provision of health, education, connection of electricity among other development projects,” said Mr Ruto.
The Deputy President said the Government will work with all leaders irrespective of their political affiliations.
He said political, religious and regional differences should not be used to divide Kenyans.
“The Government under the leadership of President Uhuru Kenyatta and I is the Government of all Kenyans. It will serve those who voted for us and those who did not vote for us,” said Mr Ruto.
“We were elected on different political parties but we have decided we will not be separated by boundaries of regions, political parties or religious faith. We will not discriminate anyone,” he added.
At the same time, Mr Ruto told his competitors not to worry that he had began the 2022 campaigns too early, saying he was only performing his duties as the Deputy President.
“Some leaders should stop being worried. We are here for development, as the time for politics will come. Lets focus our energies on development,” he said.
The Deputy President said he would distribute 25,000 title deeds this weekend at the Coast, a move aimed at solving the land problems in the region.
Ms Jumwa said she would continue to work with the Government in exploring ways of solving problems facing Malindi residents despite opposition from her political party.
She said the construction of the bridge would greatly help the people access markets outside the area, saying farm produce have in most cases gone to waste because of transportation problems.
“Residents here have had problems with crocodiles, hippos and fierce water while crossing this river. This is why we are grateful that the Government has acted swiftly to help us solve this problem,” said Ms Jumwa.
Garsen MP Wario said coast leaders have decided to set aside their political differences and serve the people as a team.
“As you can see we were elected in different political parties but were are here with Mr Ruto because of development,” said Mr Wario.
Senator Wario appealed to the people of the coast to shun political party politics and their love for political parties and focus on development that will transform the region.
“We are past the politics of emotions we are engaging in politics of development. Let us shun political theatrics,” said Senator Wario.
Mr Mungaro said the Ministry of Lands was working towards finding lasting solutions to the land problem in the region.
“We will ensure the land problem is not a campaign agenda at the coast come the year 2022,” said Mr Mungaro.