• Mbogo has declared interest in succeeding Joho, along with five of the governor’s close allies.
•Joho says he wants to be president. Anyone who has his blessing has an advantage.
The general election is three years away but the politicking to succeed Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho is intense.
The race to succeed Joho has become more complicated after Wiper’s Kisauni MP Ali Mbogo appeared to put aside his differences with him.
Mbogo has hitherto been a known team Tanga Tanga member backing Deputy President William Ruto but has distanced himself of late.
Mbogo has declared interest in succeeding Joho, as have at least five of the governor's close allies.
Joho is in his second and final term. He is an ODM deputy party leader and wants to be president.
Since Joho is the political kingpin in Mombasa, having his blessing is a big advantage in the race to succeed him.
On Monday, the governor said the contest will be "explosive" but urged his allies to remain united.
“Go vie, because there will be a battle, but I urge you to please stay united,” the governor said.
Unity is important for the greater good of the whole Coast region, he said. It will also strengthen his own bid for the presidency if he wants the Coast vote.
Allies who have either declared interest or shown some indication they want to succeed him include MPs Abdulswamad Nassir (Mvita), Mishi Mboko (Likoni), Badi Twalib (Jomvu), Mombasa county secretary Francis Thoya and county assembly Speaker Aharub Khatri.
If the speculation and governor's activities are anything to go by, may be his preferred choice.
Both men have publicly denied this.
Mbogo’s appearance at two functions withJoho and his ODM brigade indicates the poor relationship between the two may have improved. They appeared at Tononoka Hall at a meeting with seafarers and later at Joho’s Iftar dinner at the Serani Sports Club.
Mbogo is a Mijikenda, the most populous community in the county. On Monday, he also called for unity for the greater good of the people of Mombasa and the Coast region.
“Without unity, we would be fighting a losing battle,” Mbogo said in reference to the planned privatisation of the Port of Mombasa.
Joho has been keen to avoid endorsing anyone to succeed him so as not to create enmity among his allies.
He wants to leave a legacy and has chosen the health sector, The governor is revamping Coast General Hospital from an ailing facility into a top-notch health centre.
Though he has kept his cards close to his chest, the governor’s aides have been indicating Joho could be torn over whom to support.
His statement on Monday during the meeting with seafarers at Tononoka Hall could be an indication of his preparation to disappoint some of his allies.
“Leaders, I challenge you. There has been leadership before us and there shall be leadership after us. Listen to me keenly,” Joho said.
“We’ll only be remembered by our deeds during leadership,” he said, emphasising the need for unity despite individual aspirations for the county's top seat.
He asked leaders to work together to serve the interests of their people..
My God has asked me to pray and I have prayed, God, I want to be president of this countryMombasa Governor Hassan Joho
The ODM brigade at the meeting included Nassir, Mboko, William Kamoti (Rabai MP), Asha Hussein (Mombasa county MP), Mohamed Faki (Mombasa Senator), Issa Boy (Kwale Senator) and Ruweida Obo (Lamu county MP).
Mbogo ditched ODM for Wiper during the 2017 campaigns and defeatedJoho’s close ally Rashid Bedzimba, removing him from the Kisauni seat.
Though he has not been in good terms with Joho, Mgogo has been seen less often with the DP.
His appearance with Joho and ODM MPs at Tononoka could signal a change of heart.
Later in the evening, he joined the ODM brigade for Joho’s Iftar dinner at Serani Sports Club, where Orange Party secretary general Edwin Sifuna and Siaya Senator James Orengo were present.
Meanwhile, Joho said he wants to be in State House.
“I trust God so much. And what God wants, no man can derail,” Joho said.
“My God has asked me to pray and I have prayed, God, I want to be president of this country,” Joho saod.