Key Coast political kingpins have been given a nod by the electoral body to vie in the August polls paving the way for a major battle for the control of the region votes.
Both Jubilee and Nasa are battling for the 1.7 million votes in the area regarded as a swing vote region as it has no presidential candidate.
Although the region overwhelmingly voted for ODM in the 2013 polls, the Jubilee Party leaders have been making forays, dishing out goodies to win locals support.
With the clearance of candidates by the electoral body, both Jubilee and Nasa are banking on their top soldiers on the ground to win the August 8 vote.
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho is among those who got the clearance from Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to contest.
“The journey continues. I thank God for all this and I want to tell the Jubilee government to be ready for a tough fight ahead. We are committed in this and we will ensure that we emerge winners,” said Mr Joho who is the ODM deputy party leader and a key Nasa pointman at the Coast.
He added: “We are now ready for the campaigns and let my competitors be ready. I will show them thunder.”
Mr Joho has been at verbal war with President Kenyatta over development at the Coast.
Mr Joho’s rival, Nyali MP Hezron Awiti who is vying on a Vibrant Democratic Party ticket was also given the nod to contest.
Mombasa Jubilee Party hopeful Suleiman Shabhal and Wiper’s Hassan Omar were also cleared.
Others seeking to be Mombasa governor are Mr Anthony Chitavi Mkala of United Democratic Party (UDP), Daniel Munga Kitsao (Kadu-Asili), Make Otuke (Maendeleo Chap Chap) and Anderson Chibule wa Tsuma (independent).
Former Cabinet Minister Kazungu Kambi who together with Mr Joho and Mr Kingi the civil society had wanted to be barred from the polls was also all smiles after getting the IEBC greenlight.
IEBC also allowed Kilifi Jubilee nominee for governor seat Gideon Mung’aro to vie.
In Taita Taveta, Governor John Mrutu who lost in disputed ODM primaries got a lifeline after he was allowed to vie as an independent candidate.
ODM chief whip Thomas Mwadeghu got clearance to try his luck in the gubernatorial race. Senator Dan Mwazo was also cleared to vie as governor on Jubilee ticket.
Others in the race are independent candidates Jared Nzano, Erastus Katani, Dalmas Simba and Emmanuel Kisombe.
In Kwale, Governor Salim Mvurya who is defending his seat got the IEBC permission to fly Jubilee ticket.
“The people of Kwale have seen the development projects I initiated and have confidence in my leadership. We are not people of mere talk but development,” Mr Mvurya said.
He is to face it out with former Cabinet Minister Chirau Mwakwere, County Assembly Speaker Sammy Ruwa (independent) and Dr Issa Chipera of ODM who were also cleared.
In Lamu, Governor Issa Timamy was cleared to vie on ANC ticket.
PNU gubernatorial aspirant Eliud Ndung’u Kinuthia was denied IEBC clearance after his running mate James Matole Tuva failed to submit a degree certificate.
In Lamu Jubilee governor nominee Fahim Twaha got the IEBC certificate.
Mr Abdalla Fadhil of ODM got the electoral team backing to vie.
“My key target is to ensure all sectors which are key to our economic development including tourism, fishing and even livestock farming are improved.
As an economic expert, I am ready to ensure Lamu forges ahead economically,” said Mr Fadhil.
The official campaigns for the top seats now begin with Nasa leaders expected to pitch tent at the Coast from June 8.
President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto were in the area last week seeking re-election.
The opposition swept all gubernatorial seats in the region in 2013 but the opposition boat was punctured following defection of Mr Mvurya, Mr Mung’aro, Tana River Governor Hussein Dado, senator Mwazo and a number of MPs to Jubilee.