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Mike Sonko takes on Hassan Joho over governor's seat

 

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko address his supporters at Changamwe in Mombasa on May 6, 2022. [Omondi Onyango,Standard]

 

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko has promised his rivals a bruising battle in the Mombasa governorship race.

Sonko stormed the port city yesterday, accusing Joho of ruining Mombasa. In what is shaping to be a titanic battle between the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya alliance siblings Wiper Party and ODM, Sonko said he will free residents from what he termed Joho’s political bondage. Joho is backing Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir to succeed him.

Sonko said he will “unshackle Mombasa people” from the chains of poverty that he claims had pushed thousands of youths to join criminal gangs.

Sonko was ‘introduced’ to voters by Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka who accompanied him in his maiden tour as the party’s candidate in the August 9 Mombasa governorship race. On Friday, Coast leaders led by Joho and former Lands’ Chief Administrative Secretary who is also the ODM aspirant for Kilifi governor Gideon Mung’aro, accused Kalonzo of trying to “dump’ failed leaders in Mombasa.

They leaders said Kalonzo was out to divide Mombasa residents along tribal, religious and racial lines.

But yesterday, the former governor who was uprooted from his seat in Nairobi through impeachment by MCAs, said he will unite Mombasa residents to solve problems of joblessness, drug abuse and lack of clean and drinking water.

He said he had shifted his political base to Mombasa to ‘liberate’ residents from the control of ‘one family,’ he claimed had ruled them with an iron fist for the past 10 years. He charged: “He (Joho) claims he is a sultan. Whose sultan?” 

“I have shifted to Mombasa to remove the leadership of Mombasa from one family. I will unite all ethnic groups,” Sonko said when he addressed a rally in Changamwe.

Sonko, Kalonzo and deputy governor nominee and Kisauni MP Ali Mbogo traveled by road from Nairobi and addressed crowds along the way at various stopovers.

Joho is rallying behind Nassir as his possible successor in the heated race that has seen the ODM contender uniting with UDA’s Hassan Omar in condemning Sonko’s switch to the coastal city.

Earlier this week, Joho said Mombasa was not a dumping ground for people seeking leadership after being rejected elsewhere.

Joho who is ODM deputy party leader and a key Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition pointman in the region, warned Sonko against causing divisions.

But Kalonzo yesterday told Mombasa residents to prepared for Sonko as their new governor. “I have done my part by bringing you your next governor. He is a popular leader who can be elected even in Turkana and Kisumu. Sonko buried his mother at Kikowani in Mombasa. From today, Mombasa is a Wiper zone,” Kalonzo declared.

Sonko and Mbogo insisted that Kalonzo should be ODM leader Raila Odinga’s automatic running mate and should not be subjected to any interviews by the Azimio selection panel. “Kalonzo is more experienced and should be made Raila’s running mate. No Kalonzo, no Raila,” Mbogo said.

In a bid to prove his Mombasa connection, Sonko announced he would visit his mother’s grave at the Kikowani Muslim cemetery at the heart of Mombasa city.  He said he was not born in Mombasa County by mistake. In the first 100 days should he win, Sonko said he would ask the Mombasa County Assembly to approve a budget to fund small businesses and to scrap taxes charged on small traders.