Squabbles among political and religious leaders at the Coast are being blamed for the President’s failure to honour two dates during his visit.
President Kenyatta had been scheduled to attend a funds drive and a dinner for Muslims, both in Kwale County, but he skipped both functions.
Friday reports said differences between Kwale politicians on the venue of the Harambee are likely to have been behind the President’s no-show at Mwanguda Primary School near Mrima Hills on Thursday.
The President also skipped an Iftar (a dinner for Muslims breaking the fast), which was held at the Leisure Lodge in Diani.
State House, however, said the President skipped the events due to lack of time as he spent more time in Taita Taveta inspecting roads and opening a modern market.
But Mr Amr Banda, an official of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK), South Coast claimed that the Iftar at Leisure Lodge was poorly planned, making most of the sheikhs and preachers to skip it.
Some imams were also critical of the fact that the event, which was coordinated by Mining Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, was by invitation only and targeted rich individuals at the Coast.
Mr Banda argued that the planning did not involve Islamic groups on the ground as it was in the days of former President Kibaki.
President Kenyatta was scheduled to preside over the event.
Speaking at the dinner, Mr Balala gave an official apology on behalf of the President. He said that after visiting Taita Taveta, the Head of State could not make it to Kwale due to “unavoidable circumstances”.
Last week, there were reports that a similar function at the Kakamega State Lodge was boycotted by local Muslim leaders.
On the fund-raising, Mr Balala said the President did not have time to attend.
Reacting to reports that the President had “snubbed” the functions, Director of Public Communication at State House Munyori Buku yesterday said the President’s schedule could not allow him to travel to Kwale.
“After the activities in Taveta, it was clear there was no time to travel to Kwale. Those advancing other arguments are not telling the truth,” he said.
At the fund-raiser, Dzombo County Assembly representative Patrick Mangale said there were clear differences among the leaders over the venue.
Security was in place
“He said that while he and Governor Salim Mvurya preferred Mwanguda Primary School, local MP Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga) and Senator Juma Boy wanted it held at Ngozi Secondary School.
The fund-raiser was finally held at Mwanguda Primary School.
“All preparations were ready for the President, his security was in place, but he did not come. The differences between the MP and governor could have led to the President skipping the event,’’ he said.