Hatimy-Mbogo war of words over rates takes political turn

ODM Mombasa county chairman and nominated MCA Mohamed Hatimy. / BRIAN OTIENO
ODM Mombasa county chairman and nominated MCA Mohamed Hatimy. / BRIAN OTIENO

NASA affiliate parties ODM and Wiper are in danger of spiralling into a noisy divorce in Mombasa county with possible casualties.

ODM Mombasa chairman Mohamed Hatimy and the only elected Wiper member in the county, Kisauni MP Ali Mbogo, are at loggerheads over land and land rates in the county.

The two have accused each other of ‘stealing’ from poor Mombasa residents.

Mbogo fired the first salvo, accusing Hatimy of controlling MCAs in Mombasa and intimidating them into silence, while he colludes with the county government to try and impose exorbitant land rates.

"So that if you fail to pay, they will auction your land to anyone who is able to pay the exorbitant rate. Are we ready to have our lands grabbed from us?” posed the MP at Ziwa la Ng’ombe on Friday.

He was referring to reports that the county was contemplating raising rates by 3,000 per cent after a new valuation.

However, Hatimy responded by accusing Mbogo of misleading residents and trying to drive a wedge between them and the county administration using inflammatory utterances. The nominated MCA denied there is any hike in the land rates.

“The MP is sadly ignorant of the processes that have to be complied with before new fiscal measures such as a hike in land rates are passed,” Hatimy said in a statement on Saturday.

The ODM chair denied he owns 70 per cent of the land in Junda ward in Mbogo’s Kisauni constituency, as the MP alleged.

“Mbogo is a political disaster in Kisauni, and an election mistake that will be rectified come 2022,” Hatimy said.

On Wednesday, Mbogo downplayed the impact of his verbal war with Hatimy, saying it has nothing to do with political parties.

“We have not fought. I have just spoken the truth,” Mbogo said on the phone. He said if anyone is looking for a fight then he is the wrong person to engage.

“It is not about political parties, it is about Mombasa issues,” the MP said.

Despite the cordial relationship between ODM and Wiper in the national political scene, Hatimy views Mbogo as a party wrecker having decamped from the Orange party before the 2017 elections.

ODM and Wiper party leaders Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka are still in good terms after the March 9 handshake. They are keen to work with the government.

However, Mbogo on the other hand has declared support for Deputy President William Ruto, who is now sworn political enemies with ODM deputy party leader and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho.

Joho says he will run for president against Ruto in 2022, a move Mbogo dismisses as a joke.

Wiper member and a staunch Kalonzo ally in Mombasa Solomon Musyoka has also played down the significance of the rivalry between Hatimy and Mbogo.