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Critics raise concern over Joho's one-month absence from public eye

POLITICS
By Patrick Beja | August 30th 2021
Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho’s one-month absence from the limelight has sparked debate, with critics claiming he has been sidelined from national politics.

Joho was last seen in public during the Eid ul Adha celebrations at Masjid Ummu Kuluthum on August 8.

In the last one month, President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga have hosted several delegations in Mombasa without the governor.

On August 10, Uhuru, Raila, and One Kenya Alliance (OKA) leaders, including Musalia Mudavadi (Amani National Congress), Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka, Moses Wetangula (Ford-Kenya), and Kanu chairman Gideon Moi, held a meeting at State House Mombasa.

The meeting was also attended by Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, ODM deputy party leader.

Yesterday, Joho’s Chief of Staff Joab Tumbo said the governor had returned from a trip overseas.

“In politics, people strategise and do not talk all the time. The governor is back from his overseas trip. He is very much active in the current political discussions,” said Tumbo.

Tumbo said Joho is an “astute politician who knows when to make his moves.”

He laughed off claims that he has been sidelined in national politics.

Joho has declared his presidential ambitions, and during his last meeting with Raila in Mombasa, he said he will battle it out with his party boss in the nominations.

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho (right) with ODM leader Raila Odinga at Badala Hall in Mombasa County. [Robert Menza, Standard]

Mombasa County deputy speaker and close ally of Joho, Fadhil Makarani, said the county chief was resting while closely following all the political events.

“I know Governor Joho has his private life. But what is clear is that he is resting while closely monitoring the national politics,” said Makarani.

Shimanzi/Ganjoni MCA Priscillah Mumba also said Joho has a right to rest.

But Mombasa lawyer and political analyst Yusuf Abubakar said Joho’s plan to battle it out with Raila could work against him.

“His stand that he must face Raila at the nomination appears to have created some friction between him and other ODM leaders. Raila’s word in other parts of the country is never challenged,” said Abubakar.

He said Oparanya appeared to have opted to support Raila in his bid for the presidency, which he said explained why he attended the recent Mombasa State House meeting.

“There are also claims that Joho could be behind the push to have a Coast-based political party. In politics, such perceptions are a source of mistrust,” Abubakar said.

President Uhuru Kenyatta (center) after a meeting with Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka, Moses Wetangula, Gideon Moi, and Governor Wycliffe Oparanya at State House, Mombasa. [PSCU]

Last week, Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa led Deputy President William Ruto’s Coast allies in claiming that Coast leaders had been sidelined in the State House meetings to craft the next government.

“It is a pity that party leaders were called to State House Mombasa, but none of them came from the Coast region,” she argued.

She told Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi to join his Kwale counterpart Salim Mvurya and work with Ruto to form the next government to end the marginalisation of the Coast region.

But Kingi declined and insisted he would soldier on with the plan to form a Coast-based political party.

Governor Mvurya, who was present, declined to state his political stand, although Dr Ruto indicated they were friends and political allies since 2017.

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