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Sonko, Joho open new war front in Mombasa – Weekly Citizen



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Former Nairobi governor Mike Sonko’s decision to contest for the Mombasa governor seat has rattled the political camp of Hassan Joho who has now been forced back to the drawing board to scheme for a counter strategy. The fear is Sonko’s unexpected move is bound to not only affect the governor post, but all the other elective seats which have been under the grip of ODM for over a decade given the overwhelming support he is attracting even before he hits the campaign trail.

Mike Sonko

Joho’s succession plan was headed for smooth sailing especially after Mombasa businessman Suleiman Shahbal was forced by ODM leader Raila Odinga to step aside in favour of Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir, the chosen successor of the Mombasa governor. The Mombasa governor has been dismissive of the other governor contenders including UDA’s Hassan Omar whom he claims could not garner more that 5,000 votes. He had subsequently told his close allies, he would henceforth concentrate in campaigning for Azimio presidential candidate Raila at the national level as he did not see any serious threat to ODM in the Mombasa governor race and other positions after Shahbal exited. But the coming of Sonko who enjoys grassroots support among common voters across the board has changed the narrative.

Hassan Joho

Last week, a number of video clips appeared on social media showing different groups of Mombasa residents calling on Sonko to join the governor race, assuring him of support. Unconfirmed reports say, a desperate Joho has since reached out to the “deep state” operatives urging for support to tame the former Nairobi governor by bringing up some of the criminal cases to keep him busy in the courts. But this is unlikely to be implemented as touching Sonko at this time would antagonise Kalonzo Musyoka who during one of the press conferences said the former Nairobi governor has not been charged with crimes against humanity and critics should give Wiper party a break.

Abdulswamad Nassir

This was in apparent response to accusations by ODM politicians and other critics that Wiper party had gone against anticorruption norms to clear Sonko to contest for Mombasa governor inspite of having been impeached and was also facing a series of criminal cases in court. Kalonzo’s use of the term ‘crimes against humanity’ was also telling. Towards the 2013 general elections, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto were facing charges of crimes against humanity at the ICC, but were nevertheless allowed to contest for presidency which they won. Last week, Kalonzo managed to convince Kisauni MP Ali Mbogo to back Sonko and become his running mate in the Mombasa governor race. Mbogo is from the Mijikenda community and has been a thorn in the flesh of Joho exposing corrupt deals in the county.

Ali Mbogo

Mbogo has also been against the controversial Buxton housing project being undertaken by Shahbal which is said to be one of the reasons why he stepped down to save the investment. The project had been stopped by the senate because proper documents on how the county gave away the land and the housing estate to Shahbal’s owned company could not be provided. The deal-makers of Mombasa fear if Sonko ascends to the county leadership a lot of rot including outright theft of public resources including land will be exposed to the public and those involved prosecuted. Billions of shillings are said to have been looted through shady and inflated tenders as per audit reports by the auditor general.

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