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Joho returns to Mombasa after two weeks in US

Governor Ali Hassan Joho returns to Mombasa on Sunday after two weeks absence.

He returns at a time when politics in the county is taking a new dimension with defection of some leaders from ODM to Wiper Party.

Mr Joho, whose sojourn in the United States left a lull in the Coast politics, is expected to re-energise debate in a region that has become a battleground for two top coalitions ahead of the August 8 polls.

The National Super Alliance (Nasa), which sees the region as its stronghold as ODM won most of the seats in 2013 is facing a stiff challenge from Jubilee Party which wants to eat into its support.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto have recently made frequent visits to the region to turn the tides against the opposition.

Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Lamu, Tana River and Taita Taveta counties have a total of more than 1.2 million registered voters.

The visits by President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto to market Jubilee Party and to dish various goodies have left tongues wagging.

On Friday, Coast regional coordinator Nelson Marwa said President Kenyatta is expected in Mombasa “soon” to launch a drug rehabilitation centre.

Mr Joho, who has been a major critic of the Jubilee administration and at times exchanged bitter words with its leaders, is seen as a key Nasa pointman at the Coast and a political kingpin.

His return comes at a time when Nasa principal Musalia Mudavadi is in Mombasa for a two-day tour to market the outfit.

Mr Joho’s handlers have organised a caravan and a series of rallies in all Mombasa sub-counties for his “homecoming.”

RUNNING MATE

“Governor 001” return comes at a time when his bitter rivals under Nasa, Senator Hassan Omar and Nyali MP Hezron Awiti have intensified campaigns to dislodge him in the August polls.

Mr Omar has ruled out joint Nasa nominations in Mombasa.

The Wiper Secretary-General has to however first square it out with Mr Awiti for the party ticket.

Jubilee has already named businessman Suleiman Shahbal as its candidate for the gubernatorial seat with former MP Anania Mwaboza as his running mate.

Mr Joho, who appears to have no opponent for the ODM ticket in the race to retain his seat has however suffered a set-back after a number of ward representatives defected from ODM to Wiper.

The MCAs accused Mr Joho of poor leadership but the governor’s handlers insisted they had jumped ship after sensing defeat in the primaries.
ODM won all the MCA seats in Mombasa in the last elections.

Although Wiper did not get any ward representative slot in the crucial port city, its popularity has been growing following party leader Kalonzo Musyoka campaigns.

RALLIES

Mr Musyoka’s party also got a boost following Thursday’s defection of former Cabinet Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere to Wiper.

The former Kenya’s envoy to Tanzania had shown allegiance to ODM and even met party leader Raila Odinga and Mr Joho after defecting from JP.

Mr Joho is expected to arrive at the Moi International airport at 11 am.

Mombasa ODM chairman Mohammed Hatimy said Mr Joho will first visit the Akamba Handicraft Centre before heading to Mikindani in Changamwe and Tudor in Mvita.

The ODM deputy party leader will also hold rallies in Bamburi, Kisauni and Frere Town in Nyali.

“Two days after his arrival he will visit Likoni to complete his county tour. The governor will share with Mombasa residents about his tour to the US and tell us more about issues regarding our county,” said Mr Hatimy.

Mr Joho has been in the US for a global anti-extremism forum. He left Kenya on February 15 and conducted series of meetings in US.

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