The search for the next speaker of the Mombasa assembly has began — and the candidate had better be loyal to Governor Hassan Joho.
Sources told the Star four hopefuls are lining up to take over from Thaddeus Rajwayi. He lost the position after falling out with Joho in mid 2016.
Rajwayi had supported Nyali MP Hezron Awiti, Joho’s rival, who ran against the Sultan on the Vibrant Democratic Party.
There were brawls in the assembly over motions to impeach Rajwayi.
Former Tononoka ward MCA Saad Faraj and his Airport wardd counterpart, Rashid Mswabah, are being considered.
Former Kisauni MP Rashid Bedzimba (ODM), who was humiliated by newcomer Ali Mbogo (Wiper) in the General Election is said to be on list.
Bedzimba, a former councillor of the defunct Mombasa Municipal Council between 2002 and 2013, is Joho’s ally. Former Mombasa mayor Ahmed Muhdhar is also in the running.
The county assembly is expected to resume work next week after Joho’s inauguration next Tuesday.
A senior county official told the Star the governor is keen to ensure the next speaker is loyal to the executive.
Former speaker Rajwayi fell out with the executive, leading to a sharp division of the assembly into two camps.
MCAs allied to Joho schemed to impeach Rajwayi.The impeachment failed after Rajwayi got court orders barring the motion from being discussed by the assembly.
However, the opposing camp also obtained court orders to block Rajwayi from accessing the assembly.
This sidelined Rajwayi who could no longer execute his duties. He was replaced by deputy Rashid Mswabah.
This new assembly has 27 MCAs elected on the ODM ticket, two on the Wiper and Ford Kenya parties. Only one MCA is an independent.
Bedzimba was a nominated councillor in the old Mombasa Municipal Council. He was a nominated councillor in 2002, before election to the Mjambere ward in 2007.
He vied for the Kisauni MP seat after Joho ran for governor in 2013. Joho was Kisauni MP between 2007 and 2013.
Faraj, who lost the ODM nominations in April to newcomer Ali Shariff, decided not defend his seat.
Faraj was among a clique of MCAs who led the onslaught against Rajwayi. He was also on the frontline defending Joho and attacking his rival for governor, former Senator Hassan Omar (Wiper).
Mswabah also lost his ODM nomination ticket to Ibrahim Omondi.