Mombasa County Governor Hassan Joho (left) listens to his Taita County Counter part John Mruttu before addressing locals at Frere town grounds, in Mombasa County on Sunday, 05th March,2017.This was upon his arrival in Mombasa from a two weeks US trip.PHOTO BY MAARUFU MOHAMED/STANDARD.
Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho yesterday declared that he was ready to face his main challengers if NASA decides to hold joint primaries for various elective seats.
Joho, who is the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) deputy party leader, at the same time accused his rivals of inventing lies to avoid joint party primaries, which many expect would escalate the political feud in NASA in the coastal city.
He appeared to be referring two of his opponents, Senator Hassan Omar and Nyali MP Hezron Awiti of Wiper, who have declared an interest in unseating Joho.
Wiper is affiliated to the National Super Alliance, which was recently launched to replace the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy.
NASA is a coalition of four main opposition parties: ODM, Wiper Democratic Movement, Amani National Congress, and Ford Kenya.
Omar, who is Wiper’s secretary general, has dismissed calls for joint nominations in NASA and declared that his party would field candidates in all the elective seats in Mombasa and the Coast region.
“Why does a person who has declared himself a sultan fear that his sultanates will not elect him if we all go on the ballot paper?” asked Omar in a phone interview.
Yesterday Joho arrived in Mombasa from a two-week tour of the United States where he also attended the Strong Cities Network Forum. He declared that he does not fear a face-off with anyone.
Perhaps as an indication of the deteriorating relationship among NASA leaders in Mombasa, Joho led a procession in town before heading for a rally in Frere Town.
Musalia Mudavadi, one of the NASA founders, held a parallel rally in Likoni and was accompanied by Omar.
During the Frere Town rally, the county chief declared that Mombasa would back Raila Odinga for the NASA presidential ticket.
Joho accused leaders in the coalition in Mombasa, whom he did not name, of inventing propaganda against ODM’s planned primaries in order to fuel defection.
“There are a lot of rumours aimed at tainting the image of ODM’s planned primaries. I want to say here that when one person defects, 20 others are coming in,” he reiterated.
He said the ODM primaries would be free and fair, claiming that some of those defecting from ODM were those whose requests for direct nomination had been turned down.
“I’m ready to face them in the nomination but if the NASA committee decides that we meet at the ballot. I’m also ready for any challenge,” said Joho.
Last week, former Kenyan High Commissioner in Tanzania Chirau Mwakwere joined Wiper after reports had linked him to ODM.