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Msambweni by-election a test of popularity for Joho, Mvurya

By Patrick Beja | November 30th 2020
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho (R) with ODM candidate Omar Boga (L) before presenting nomination papers to the IEBC at Msambweni in Kwale County. [Omondi Onyango,Standard]

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and his Kwale counterpart Salim Mvurya have renewed political rivalry in the Msambweni by-election campaigns.  

Mvurya has accused Joho of bullying other governors at the Coast and warned against combative politics ahead of the by-election. 

In 2016, the Kwale governor defected from ODM over allegations that his Mombasa counterpart was micro-managing affairs of other counties at the Coast. 

In past two weeks, Joho has been campaigning for the ODM candidate Omar Idd Boga while Mvurya has been drumming up support for independent candidate Feisal Abdalla Bader. 

On September 22, Deputy President William Ruto vowed to rally behind Mr Bader after the Jubilee Party pulled out of the race. “He can buy votes but we will ensure that he does not win this seat. I am going to camp in Msambweni until we deliver the seat to ODM,” Joho said.

The Mombasa governor’s entry in Msambweni campaigns appears to have jolted Mvurya who warned the ODM team that Mr Boga does not have the blessings of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“President Kenyatta has no candidate in Msambweni. I am sure if an election was called today, I will be elected with majority votes. I urge you to elect Feisal as you guard against those who seek to undermine my legacy,” Mvurya told residents as he campaigned in Mivumoni and Eshu in Ramisi ward.

Although Dr Ruto has not set foot in Msambweni since the campaigns started on October 15, he has been spearheading activities from Nairobi aimed at ensuring Bader clinches the seat.

Political analyst Hassan Mwakimako said yesterday that the campaigns have proved to be tough for ODM leader Raila Odinga and Ruto allies who are seeking to lay ground for 2022 elections.

The university don noted that although Jubilee does not have a candidate in Msambweni, Mvurya may have heightened the campaigns to prepare ground for his deputy Fatuma Achani whom he has endorsed to succeed him.

“Governor Mvurya cannot afford to let the Msambweni seat go to ODM without a fight because he has settled on his deputy to succeed him in 2022. Winning the seat will definitely enhance Ms Achani’s chances of capturing the gubernatorial seat,” he said.

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