BY FLORA AWINJA.
Following the countrywide demonstrations called by Azimio leader Raila Odinga that were held on Monday 20th March 2023, the coastal region was still at peace with residents going about their daily activities.
Contrary to the expectations of many that the coastal region would be on the frontline to participate in the mass action since it was considered one of Raila Odinga’s strongholds, there were no demonstrations reported in the six counties.
Residents who we spoke to said that they did not get involved in the demonstrations because they wanted peace, adding that the protests would not help in any way.
According to them, demonstrating will not put food on their tables and they have to go about their duties to fend for their families.
They said demonstrations and picketing satisfy the leaders who feel are influential to the masses.
Athman Mangale, a butcher at Markaz Diani in Kwale county, said that they did not want to endanger their lives because of the law enforcers’ preparedness who were ready to control demonstrators.
“We saw on TV in the early morning hours how the police were ready to tackle demonstrators and you expect me to leave my workplace and demonstrate?” he said.
He said the opposition which is trying to fight president William Ruto’s government should just contain their battles in the country’s capital city.
“The opposition is trying to fight the Government under President William Ruto. Let them do it over there in Nairobi and not on the coast,” he added.
According to Evans Amanya, a resident of Kwale County and supporter of Raila Odinga, the message was delivered well with the demonstrations witnessed in Nairobi.
“First, I would like to say that Kwale and the coast at large is a peaceful region, however, I am glad that the message is home,” he said.
Amanya added that there are chances of other counties joining in the mass action after Odinga said the protests will be carried out twice a week.
“Demonstrations are still ongoing, now it is twice a week; Monday and Thursday as declared by our leader Raila Amolo Odinga” he noted.
On the contrary opinion, Ukunda Catholic church chairman Peter Mutiso said that they did not participate in the demonstrations because they have outgrown political waves.
“We have outgrown political waves as a region hence we are not driven blindly into demonstrations because we are a peaceful region and we love peace, “he said.
Peter said there is a need to recognize the government in power and let it work for the people.
“They should just leave it and give it humble time to deliver the promises they gave during the campaigns” he emphasized.
Meanwhile, Kwale ODM chairperson Hassan Mwanyoha maintained that the region still supports Raila.
He said that the party leadership could not organise for demonstration since they were all in Nairobi in support of Raila.
“We are all in Nairobi in solidarity with Raila and therefore we couldn’t have a demonstration in Kwale. We will be back and plan for the same,” he told Coast Times Digital.