Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho’s billboard along Mombasa-Malindi highway.
Three Mombasa gubernatorial candidates Saturday claimed the county government has denied them permits to erect campaign billboards.
Senator Hassan Omar of the Wiper Democratic Movement, Suleiman Shahbal of Jubilee Party and Hezron Awiti of the Vibrant Democratic Party (VDP) said their applications to erect billboards across the county have not been approved.
But County Communications Director Richard Chacha has denied the claims and explained that the politicians should seek permission from private companies, which he said were allocated the advertising sites.
Mr Chacha further stated that the county only gets levies from the private advertising firms, but do not determine who places advertisements. “Placement of billboards is a private business. Even the county government pays such firms when putting up its adverts. The firms go for the highest bidders because theirs is a willing-buyer willing-seller arrangement. The candidates should not drag the name of the county government into their problems,” he said.
He said an Independent senatorial candidate, Mr Jabess Oduor, has put up his billboards after meeting prerequisite terms of the firms.
Speaking separately, the candidates claimed it was unfair for Governor Hassan Joho to put up his billboards while thwarting every effort of his competitors to promote theirs.
Senator Omar said efforts to acquire space to erect his advertisement have been rejected. He promised to give details later. “The three gubernatorial candidates have been denied a chance by the county government to place billboards. I am going to give details later,” Omar said.
Mr Shahbal on the other hand yesterday called a press conference to protest the action terming it unfair during this electioneering period.
Mr Awiti said he even Sh360,000 cheque through a proxy to put up his first billboard, but the county returned it after releasing it came from him.
“A cheque was returned yesterday and this is very sad. The county government is trying to frustrate all candidates competing with the governor by denying them an opportunity to advertise and promote their campaign agendas through the billboards,” Awiti protested.
Shahbal has condemned what he terms suppression by the county over the erecting of billboards and posters by candidates.
“The county has given instructions that they will not allow those challenging Governor Joho to have their billboards erected within the city,” said Shabhal who was flanked by the JP women rep aspirant Amina Abdallah and party chairman Mr Matano Chengo.