• This was Awiti’s first public appearance since the 2017 general elections when he lost the Mombasa Governor race to Hassan Joho.
• Although he insists he was friends with Joho, the two got into several ‘fights’ over Nyali issues when he was MP.
The re-emergence of former Nyali MP Hezron Awiti in the public has led to speculation that he is gunning for the Nyali seat in 2022.
Although he flatly denied it on Saturday when he was spotted talking to traders who have been evicted from the Jomo Kenyatta public beach along the Mombasa - Malindi Highway, those close to him said he is “ready to come back home”.
This was Awiti’s first public appearance since the 2017 general elections when he lost the Mombasa seat to Governor Hassan Joho.
He was stopped by the traders who spotted him in a blue van and ran after him.
Awiti insisted on stopping despite his driver protesting. “He said he cannot forget his people no matter what,” he said.
The traders complained about ‘mistreatment’ by the county, pleading with Awiti to intervene. The former MP said he would look into it.
“You have to know that I am no longer the MP. I am just a businessman who lives in Nyali,” he said.
“You have an MP and, out of respect, I will let him fight for you. If push comes to shove, we will see what to do because we still have a voice to make noise,” Awiti said.
The county government plans to put up a Sh300 million facility at the beach to attract more international and domestic tourists.
Tourism chief officer Asha Abdi said the administration wants to renovate the park and put up a state-of-the-art recreational facility.
She said they have a list of all those who had been operating within the area and that they will be given a priority in space allocation when the project is complete.
“We wish to assure residents of Mombasa that this land has been properly secured and we are only here to remodel the public beach and create ample facilities for not only the traders but also for tourists,” Abdi said.
Awiti left Wiper Party to form his own Vibrant Democratic Party in 2017, through which he vied for the Mombasa seat.
His allies say he has been concentrating on his businesses to re-energise himself.
“He [Awiti] says he has decided but he does not want to create enmity now,” one of his aides told the Star on Monday.
“He has been seeking different opinions from his trusted friends,” the aide said.
The wealthy businessman has the financial muscle to mount a serious campaign.
However, his aides say he has learned vital lessons from his 2017 campaign when he spent more than Sh500 million.
“The last time he almost exclusively used his own money. This time he has approached several of his friends both within the country and abroad who have promised to support him,” another aide said.
Awiti, who is popularly known as ‘Jobo Jobo’ meaning ‘Work is Work’, was a constant thorn in the flesh of the county government when he was MP.
Although he insists he was friends with Joho, the two got into several ‘fights’ over Nyali issues.
“He has been listening to the cries of his people and now he wants to act on them,” an aide said.
If he throws his hat into the ring, Nyali will once again be the constituency to watch.
Incumbent Mohammed Ali has already said he will seek re-election. Joho’s cousin Said Abdalla also has eyes on the seat again, after he lost to Ali in 2017.
Edited by R.Wamochie