Nassir, Shahbal rivalry plays out in Mombasa ODM primaries

Businessman Suleiman Shahbal addressing supporters in Nyali, Mombasa, April 3, 2022. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

Chaos and confusion marred Mombasa ODM primaries for MCA seats across the 30 wards as rivalry played out between camps of Mvita MP Abdulswamad Shariff Nassir and businessman Suleiman Shahbal.

Mr Nassir and Mr Shahbal are battling for the ODM ticket for the Mombasa governor race. They were both keen to see aspirants allied to their camps clinch the ODM ticket in the exercise marred with chaos and claims of vote-rigging.

Initial reports indicated that Old Town ward MCA Murfad Abdalah Amuour had lost to Abdirahman Hussein.

Nominated MCA and lawyer Amriya Juma Boy who contested the Mjambere ward seat was poised to win after garnering 489 votes to emerge top.

Tudor ward MCA Tobias Otieno Samba scooped 618 votes to beat rivals in the exercise conducted over the weekend.

At Mombasa Primary, aspirants arrived with their supporters who engaged in fistfights. At the Old Town ward, police were forced to intervene to protect the clerk from the mob who accused him of trying to rig the exercise.

Similar ugly scenes were witnessed at Mtopanga ward in Kisauni, Likoni and Nyali constituencies where aspirants and their supporters engaged in heated arguments that in some cases degenerating into a fight.

However, Mr Shahbal who voted at Tononoka Social Hall, in Tononoka Ward in Mvita Constituency said the exercise was peaceful.

"This is what people want, to decide their own leaders," he said in reference to the standoff in ODM over the nominations for Mombasa governor.

He has rejected three opinion polls that put Mr Nassir ahead of him and demanded that the party uses universal suffrage to pick the candidate for the governor race.

Mr Nassir insists the party's National Delegates Congress ratified the use of opinion polls if the consensus method fails, and the party should stick to that.

 Mvita MP Abdulswamad Shariff Nassir. [Phillip Orwa, Standard]

Efforts to get the full list of winners in the nominations from the ODM Mombasa branch chairman Mohamed Khamid Hamisi Dee were not successful by the time of going to press.

In Old Town, the names of party members were missing. However, after the counting of the votes at Aldina Visram, Abdul Rahman was declared the winner in the ward despite numerous complaints.

Several sitting MCAs lost in nominations to new comers.

Junda ward MCA Raphael Msumba Bwire lost in the nominations and vowed to appeal.

ODM indicated that it was still compiling the list of winners that would be made public in due course.

The party which has the majority seats in the current Mombasa county assembly has also not indicated whether it will conduct nominations for the six parliamentary seats in Mombasa with reports that some MPs have been given direct tickets.

Yesterday, Mr Nassir said ODM enjoys massive support in Mombasa.

“I am satisfied with this big turnout of the registered party members which is a clear sign  Mombasa is an ODM zone,” he said adding that ODM had more than 250 MCA aspirants. 

He noted that there were over 400 polling stations. Most of the party members who participated in the exercise lined up from as early as 6 am.

However, in some polling stations, members claimed that they were unable to vote.

A spot check at the Mombasa Public Health polling station in Mvita constituency found that some ODM members were locked out of the voting hall.

“I am a party member for many years but I have been denied access to the voting hall because I do not have a party membership number to enable me to vote,” said Ahmed Salim from Old Town.

In Junda ward, police were called at the Nursery School polling station after supporters of an aspirant turned rowdy over claims that some members were being turned way before voting.

A police officer was overwhelmed by the crowd that wanted to access the polling station.

A big turnout was also witnessed in wards in Nyali, Changamwe and Jumvu Kuu constituencies where voting continued despite a few incidents.

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