Senator Omar wants Governor Joho's guns audited

Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar. He wants an audit of guns in the hands of Governor Hassan Joho. (Photo: Kelvin Karani/Standard)

Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar has called for an audit on the number of licensed guns in the hands of Governor Hassan Joho.

Omar claimed the Mombasa governor moves around with more guns and security than even the Vice President's entourage, claims dismissed by Joho's spokesman as preposterous.

The senator told journalists in Mombasa that he has proof that Joho moves around with about 30 armed men and appealed to the Central Firearms Bureau to investigate the matter.

"Whenever he moves, there are more than 38 armed people including police officers who move with him. He moves around with a whole police station and an armoury," said Omar.

The senator argued that Joho does not require extra security because he faces no greater security threat than other elected leaders in the region.

"It is only the President that has the number of police officers and people with guns around them like Joho. It is unacceptable," said Omar.

The senator said that he and other politicians, including ODM leader Raila Odinga and Wiper Democratic Movement leader Kalonzo Musyoka  criticised the Jubilee government more harshly than Joho, yet they were not surrounded by armed men and a heavy security entourage.

He accused Joho of orchestrating the VIP bodyguards crisis to deflect attention from corruption and poor service delivery in his county.

Omar added a new twist to the saga when he called for an audit of Joho's security entourage, including guns licensed to him.

Omar, a former ally of Joho who has turned bitter critic, said the governor was entitled to five security officers, including a bodyguard because he faces no greater security threat than other Kenyans.

Responding to Omar's claims, Joho's spokesman Richard Chacha said they were untrue.

He said until this weekend, the governor had three bodyguards who move with him and two policemen guarding his residence.

Chacha accused Omar of pretending to be concerned about Joho's security while secretly celebrating the governor's tribulations at the hands of the Government.

"Why would the governor need 38 guns when he walks around Mombasa or rides a bicycle alone?" said Chacha.

Yesterday, Haki Africa Executive Officer Khalid Hussein said his organisation was worried about the number of firearms licensed to some of the VIPs.


Khalid said as a non-partisan organisation, they would not take sides in the ongoing political debate but demanded an audit of firearms in private hands.

"This is an electioneering year and politicians are bound to make statements as they wish. However, an audit of firearms in private hands is long overdue," said Khalid.

Three Mombasa MCAs, Riziki Fundi (Bamburi), Jabez Oduor (Kongowea) and Hamisi Mwabashiri (Mjambere), also called for an audit on the number of guns in private hands in Mombasa.

"You will never hear of a debate about guns in Nairobi, Meru or Nakuru. Mombasa is becoming Colombia where guns are brandished in social places even at daytime," said Oduor.