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Citizen Weekly

Monday, 8 September 2014

UHURU SETS STAGE TO SNATCH COAST FROM RAILA AHEAD OF 2017



Mombasa governor Hassan Joho is engaging a higher political gear to ensure his county remains a Cord zone in the face of a vigorous charm offensive by top Jubilee leaders led by President Uhuru Kenyatta at the Coast.

Uhuru was in the port city of Mombasa for several days in which he went out of his way to appease the residents in the manner he adjusted himself to mingle with the common man. He ate in a low key Swahili restaurant accompanied by rebellious Mombasa opposition MPs as he toured a public beach named Kenyatta where he freely mingled with excited beach goers. 
During his Mombasa stay, the president would also occasionally show up in some restaurants unannounced, catching both the owners and the clients by surprise.

At State House Mombasa, Uhuru met several groups of people ranging from Imams, political activists and other leaders opposed to Joho’s leadership. Suleiman Shahbal, who stood against Joho in the last general elections and a former Mombasa mayor Ahmed Mondhar, also met Uhuru.

It is said strategies were laid on how Mombasa county could be snatched from Cord’s sway during the referendum period and ahead of the next general elections. Sources intimated that two Mombasa opposition MPs, Abdulswamad Nassir (Mvita) and Masoud Mwahima (Likoni), who have since fallen out with Cord leader Raila Odinga and Joho, have been tasked with neutralising Cord support in Mombasa.

Nassir will in particular be empowered to ensure that Jubilee has a strong foothold in the port city. Being youthful and enjoying a strong network of young voters in addition to the backing of upcountry voters, the Mvita MP stands a good chance of being groomed to eventually take over from Joho as governor in the next general elections.

However, sources have pointed out that Joho who is a shrewd political operative is not taking any chances. The governor, it is said, has laid down a watertight counter strategy which the Jubilee operatives may find difficult to penetrate. Instructively, the governor has the backing of five out of the seven Mombasa MPs. Those backing Joho include Hezron Awiti (Nyali), Omar Mwinyi (Changamwe), Badi Twalib (Jomvu), Rashid Bedzimba (Kisauni), Mishi Mboko (women rep) and Mombasa senator Omar Hassan.

It is said that even though Nassir and Mwahima have technically crossed to Jubilee, their voters have not followed them. It is also claimed majority of voters in Mvita and Likoni are Luos, a move that puts the two legislators in a tight corner.

With Mining cabinet secretary Najib Balala out of politics for a while, it is a herculean task for those being fronted currently against Joho to succeed. It is said perhaps the only option that could work for Jubilee is to bring on board former Changamwe MP Ramadhan Kajembe who has political experience to help in taming Joho.

Back to Joho, it is said all those who are opposed to his leadership will be dealt with by way of ensuring they do not recapture their seats in the next general elections. Apart from being denied ODM/Cord ticket, opponents will be groomed to defeat them in elections. This strategy will be extended to the other Coastal counties like Kwale, Kilifi, Lamu, Tana River and Taita Taveta.

The managing director of Mombasa Housewares Limited Omar Shariff who is a staunch supporter of Governor Joho is of the opinion that MPs who have broken ranks with Raila and are fighting the Mombasa governor and should  be forced to seek for fresh mandate from the electorate.

“I normally get irritated when people stand up and abuse Joho who was validly elected by Mombasa voters. I think the governor’s opponents are jealous that if he performs, they may never be able to topple him. They should respect him by allowing him to finish his term then the voters can judge him,” Omar pointed out.