• MP Ali Mbogo accuses Shahbal of scheming to wreak havoc in Wiper.
• The businessman-cum-politician says he is operating under the Handshake which has brought down barriers among parties.
A political showdown looms in Mombasa after businessman Suleiman Shahbal made a surprise appearance at Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka's function on Monday.
Kalonzo, after opening the first Wiper office in the county at Gulshan, endorsed Shahbal for governor to the chagrin of Kisauni MP Ali Mbogo, who was elected on the party’s ticket in 2017.
“There is another brother here whom you know. He won the governorship in 2013, (Shahbal) and will be governor unopposed this time,” Kalonzo declared.
This gave credence to reports that Wiper has been reaching out to Shahbal to convince him to rejoin the party, whose ticket he used to vie against ODM in 2013.
Both Mbogo and Shahbal have declared interest in succeeding Hassan Joho.
Joho and Shahbal have lately been working closely in the fight against Covid-19, leading to speculation the governor might endorse his former nemesis.
However, Joho on Monday said he is headed for national politics and will let those who want to succeed him fight it out.
He spoke while receiving a report on the social audit of the utilisation of the Covid-19 funds at Treasury Square.
Shahbal said he is operating under the Handshake which has brought down barriers among parties.
“ODM has a working deal with Jubilee under the Handshake. Wiper has also signed a deal with Jubilee. This means we can work together for our people. This is all meant to ensure residents get proper service delivery,” Shahbal said through aide Idris Abdulrahman.
But Mbogo accused the businessman of scheming to wreak havoc in Wiper.
“We will not allow a few people jumping here and there to bring chaos in the party,” he said.
“Shahbal is not a Wiper member, so I don’t count him. We know he is a Jubilee member. So we don’t have two camps in Wiper Mombasa. We have only one.”
Supporters of Mbogo and Shahbal had a run-in at the entrance of Wild Waters Complex in Nyali where Kalonzo met party delegates after opening the office.
The businessman escorted Kalonzo from Gulshan but left him at the parking lot of the resort.
Mbogo's supporters claimed there was a plot to block them from accessing the venue.
An angry Kalonzo rebuked the rival groups, saying the infighting will not help the party gain popularity.
“There was something like a contest. The contest is yet to come. Today, I only wanted to meet you so I can see how you are doing and give you an update on how we are preparing ourselves,” he said.
He reprimanded the party’s secretary for religious affairs, Sheikh Twaha Omar, for driving a wedge between Wiper members and friends.
“If you are a Sheikh be a proper Sheikh. Think straight. Don’t be making people clash,” Kalonzo said, in reference to Twaha's opening prayer at Wild Waters Complex during which he prayed for Mbogo’s victory.
Kalonzo regretted that there has been a history of bad blood among Wiper members in Mombasa, mentioning in particular party secretary general Hassan Omar and national treasurer Hezron Awiti. Both lost their senator and MP (Nyali) seats respectively in 2017.
“They did not win. In fact, Awiti and Omar forced me to intervene, with my slender body, and separate them as they fought physically,” the Wiper leader said.
Mbogo’s camp had earlier claimed there are fake delegates at the conference, in reference to Shahbal’s supporters.
However, Kalonzo said no one is fake and that it is an opportunity to turn the supposed fake delegates by selling them the Wiper agenda.
“You will stop fighting each other. And if you want to cheat me that you will win yet there are some for Shahbal and some for Mbogo. You are fighting yet elections are still far away. You need prayers.
“This is not a joking matter. I am here to tell you the truth. I am not talking to citizens, I am talking to leaders," he said.
He called for the formation of a county coordinating committee to run the party affairs under the leadership of county coordinator Alex Masha as secretary.
“And if you have been sent by ODM to finish Wiper from within, we will know and we will expose you,” he warned Masha.
“You are fighting each other while ODM watches you after sending spies to divide you,” the party leader said and endorsed Mohammed Zakir for the Senate seat as "he has the ability to unite people".
Masha was asked to seek out the 2017 election runners-up in all the 30 wards and convince them to join Wiper.
Mbogo said he does not fear Shahbal and that he is ready to face him in nominations.
“Our nominations will be free and fair. We will meet on the ground. If he is man enough, we are ready for him."
He asked Kalonzo to let the Wiper members work for him and deliver the county to him.
“What we want is your cooperation. Let us build the party for you in Mombasa. Mombasa has its owners. We are ready to sacrifice for you,” the MP said.
He said Mombasa has always had aggressive politicians.
“I am a die-hard Wiper member. There were Ruto and ODM meetings here but I did not attend because I belong to Wiper. Those telling lies about Mbogo will be defeated,” Mbogo said in response to claims he was lukewarm and operated as a lone ranger.
The claims were made at the meeting by an MP from Eastern.
Edited by R.Wamochie