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Governor Hassan Joho accuses President Uhuru Kenyatta of claiming credit for county-initiated projects

By Benard Sanga | Published Fri, January 6th 2017 at 00:00, Updated January 6th 2017 at 11:17 GMT +3
President Uhuru Kenyatta (centre) having a feel of Mombasa's first footbridge, which he commissioned, yesterday. [photo:PSCU]

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho yesterday accused President Uhuru Kenyatta of taking credit for development projects he did not initiate.

The accusation, which was made in the presence of the President, drew angry reactions from Jubilee-allied leaders including Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, Kilifi North MP Gideon Mung'aro and arch-rival Hezron Awiti Bolo (Nyali MP).

The governor spoke at the launch of a water project in Bamburi, Mombasa.

This was Uhuru's first public function outside State House following his arrival in Mombasa about two weeks ago. Right from the outset, Joho said he wanted to 'set the record straight' on the projects the President was launching yesterday.

He claimed that contrary to Jubilee's assertions, the national government had not launched major projects at the Coast since coming to power in 2013 and was only taking credit for projects that began before it came to power.

"We (Mombasa residents) want Jubilee to show us the projects it has done for us. The project being unveiled today was started in 2010," Joho said.

The governor further claimed Jubilee had failed to deliver for the people of Mombasa and that its leaders had resorted to deceiving the electorate using projects funded by World Bank or started by the defunct Mombasa Municipal Council.

"We want to see the billions (of shillings) that have been disbursed to other areas today brought to Mombasa," said Joho, who dismissed President Kenyatta and other Jubilee leaders' visit in Mombasa as a "tourism trip to benefit our hotels".

As the governor spoke, Uhuru did not display much emotion but other Jubilee leaders were openly uncomfortable.

When the President spoke, he did not refer directly to Joho's criticism or identify the governor by name but accused the county government of delaying the process of allocating space at the newly built Kongowea market, which he launched in December 2015.

"We launched the Kongowea market almost a year ago and I'm told traders have not been allowed to operate from there. Can the county hasten the process," said Uhuru.

But Uhuru allies were less diplomatic in their response. Mr Mung'aro and Mr Awiti dismissed Joho, terming his attack on Uhuru as "disrespectful to the country's presidency".

"It is petty for a leader to criticise the President for completing projects regardless of whoever initiated them. We have had instances in the region where elected MPs have failed or refused to complete projects because they were started by their predecessor," said Mung'aro.

Awiti who is Wiper Democratic Movement National Treasurer defended Jubilee government's development record in the region and lashed out at Joho saying his administration cannot account for billions it's allocated annually.

"The biggest problems we have in this county is discrimination along religious and tribal lines. The county cannot account for billions it is allocated every financial year," said Awiti.

The MP challenged Joho to show Mombasa residents the projects that his administration had implemented and stop lamenting and "peddling lies" that the county's development plan had been frustrated by Jubilee.

Joho skipped three of the four projects that Uhuru had earlier launched yesterday. The governor was represented by his deputy, Hazel Katana, at the launch of Mombasa's first foot bridge in the Buxton.

This is not the first time Governor Joho was openly clashing with Jubilee leadership. In December 2015 he publicly accused the Government of disrespecting him.

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