I'll be my own man, new Mombasa governor says

Mombasa Governor-elect Abdulswamad Nassir when he addressed Mombasa residents during Eid Baraza at Treasury area in Mombasa County on May 3, 2022. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

Mombasa governor-elect Abdulswamad Nassir has declared he is starting off without influence from anyone, promising to deliver on his pledges to residents.

The outgoing Mvita MP said not even his predecessor Hassan Joho would influence him to take particular decisions.

"I have told Joho that the new government will be of Abdulswamad Nassir. We will continue to implement good projects that have already been initiated and rectify the mistakes of his government," Nassir said on Tuesday after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission's County Returning Officer Swalha Yusuf declared him the winner.

Nassir garnered 119,083 votes against his closet challenger Omar Hassan of UDA who got 98,105 votes.

The voter turnout was 34 per cent, according to Ms Yusuf. The number of valid votes in the election that was held on Monday was 221,148. The governorship race attracted seven candidates but was narrowed down to Nassir and Omar.

Mombasa has 641,913 registered voters and 1,041 polling centres. The county has 30 wards in Likoni, Nyali, Kisauni, Mvita, Jomvu, and Changamwe constituencies.

"I hold out an olive branch to my political rivals telling them that time for politics is over. It is now time to deliver for the people of Mombasa," said Nassir who was accompanied by Joho.

Political rifts

He said his win proved that politicians can compete on issues and win elections. "That only those with foul mouths are the ones that triumph in elections is not true," said the governor-elect. "There were those that wanted to wedge a rift between Joho and me. Others wanted to divide Mombasa along tribal and religious lines but we have shown them that we are one," he said. During the campaigns, Omar sought to paint Nassir as Joho's "political project", a line Nassir dismissed.

Nassir, who was also accompanied by his deputy Francis Thoya and several ODM leaders, said his win also demonstrated that Mombasa is an ODM zone.

"ODM now has the governor, senator, woman representative, five of the six MPs, and 24 or the 30 MCAs in Mombasa. Those who were saying that my win will take Mombasa residents to the opposition were daydreaming," said Nassir, who was first elected as Mvita MP in 2013.

Mr Joho thanked residents for electing him twice as their governor and asked them to support Nassir.

Mr Thoya dedicated their win to ODM leader Raila Odinga as well as Mombasa residents.

"We thank the people of Mombasa for giving us this mandate to serve them. We will dedicate our lives to better their lives," said Thoya, a politician-cum-journalist.

On Monday night, hundreds of residents poured onto the streets to celebrate after word went around that Nassir had a commanding lead over Omar. Nassir and Joho led hundreds of residents in song and dance at Treasury Square on Monday night until Tuesday morning when the final result was announced.

On Tuesday, former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, who backed Omar, congratulated Nassir, saying; "Political competition is not enmity".

"I congratulate Abdulswamad Nassir for his win as the second governor of Mombasa. We live to fight another day. I thank all our supporters for believing in us and voting for our candidate Hassan Omar Sarai. Despite the loss, let's remain strong and even more united even with those who never voted for us," said Sonko.

Former Kisauni MP Ali Menza Mbogo said: "I believe we were all fighting for one course, to liberate Mombasa and better the lives of our people. It was a very high-spirited fight and we accept the outcome. We are all leaders, we are representatives, let's serve our people with the respect and dignity they deserve. Mombasa, Abdulswamad Nassir is your governor-elect. Congratulations are in order."

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