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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Mombasa politics: Jubilee’s big headache come 2017

Our Reporter

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee coalition is still groping in the dark as to how to manage and control Mombasa city politics more than two years to the next general elections.
Mombasa governor Hassan Joho whom it was initially assumed would at some point compromise and allow Jubilee to have its way has instead fastened his grip on Mombasa politics reducing the ruling coalition to a political spectator.
And shortly after being appointed acting ODM deputy party leader late last year, Joho scoffed at Deputy President William Ruto’s frequent visits at the Coast, terming the forays as divisive and political. He claimed the visits disguised as developmental were aimed at dividing the region’s political leadership.
Joho had apparently been irked by Ruto’s then visit to Kilifi North constituency whose MP is Gedion Mung’aro, an ODM rebel whom together with other party MPs from the region have vowed to challenge the supremacy of party leader Raila Odinga in the region come the next general elections.
And Joho’s comments against Ruto were viewed as a warning shot to Jubilee to prepare for a battle royale not only in Mombasa but entire Coast. To perhaps show that Joho is interested in playing Coast regional politics in order to frustrate Jubilee further, is illustrated by his current pet project of uniting Coast governors under a single economic bloc.
Back to Mombasa politics, since the departure of Mining cabinet secretary Najib Balala from politics, there seems to be a huge vacuum in the opposite camp to challenge Joho’s actions. Suleiman Shahbal who contended with Joho for the governorship seat seems to have run out of steam after a losing streak in legal challenges against the governor.
Shahbal is also incapable of playing dirty politics like his opponents hence his being seen locally as a political weakling. Nominated TNA Senator Emma Mbura whom it was expected would keep Joho on his toes has allegedly become inconsequential politically speaking after her brand of politics reportedly failed to appeal.
Others who are pushing the Jubilee agenda in Mombasa but who are obviously overwhelmed include TNA Coast coordinator Farid Swaleh, political activist Ali Mwatsahu and Samuel Wambugu among others. These Jubilee operatives feel they have been abandoned by the government after working day and night to give it a foothold in the port city in the last general elections.
The ill-feeling from the Jubilee supporters over neglect has not helped matters for the Uhuruto in Coast. Recently, there was talk that Nairobi senator Mike Sonko had pitched camp in Mombasa trying to build a strong team to counter Joho and ODM but it was not immediately clear how that ended.
There is also talk that the immediate former Mombasa county assembly minority leader Karisa Nzai is now in the list of people URP will sponsor to contest for parliamentary seats. Nzai is eyeing the Jomvu seat, Anania Mwaboza a government employee in the deputy president’s office is the party choice for the Kisauni seat. In Likoni, area MP Mwalimu Mwahima is gravitating towards Jubilee and he will be embraced.
It is said, the Joho camp which has fallen out with Mwahima is reportedly grooming Mishi Mboko to snatch the seat from the renegade MP. Mboko is Mombasa’s women representative.
It remains to be seen how both sides will play their cards in order to remain relevant  in the eyes of voters.