MOVING ON

Wiper seeks to strengthen Coast networks in honour of Bajaber

Bajaber had been tasked with identifying suitable aspirants for the party ahead of 2022.

In Summary

• The party is fishing for strong candidates to vie for different elective posts at the Coast.

• The region is perceived to be an ODM stronghold.

Mombasa businessman and politician Omar Shalo and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka at Kiziwi cemetery after burying Wiper's Salim Bajaber on Monday
TAKE MY NUMBER: Mombasa businessman and politician Omar Shalo and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka at Kiziwi cemetery after burying Wiper's Salim Bajaber on Monday
Image: JOHN CHESOLI

The death of Wiper deputy organising secretary Salim Bajaber may derail plans the party has for Mombasa and the Coast region.

Bajaber died on Sunday after a short illness and was buried on Monday. He had been tasked with identifying suitable aspirants for the party in its bid to turn the tables on ODM. The region is perceived to be an ODM stronghold.

On Monday, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, who flew in to bury Bajaber at the Kiziwi cemetery, revealed plans to convene a special National Executive Council meeting to pay tribute to the fallen hero.

 
 

The meeting is likely to work on the modalities of replacing Bajaber to continue his work.

“It is a big blow but we will have to do a special meeting to remember him and thank God for his life,” Kalonzo said.

He spoke at an exclusive joint in Tudor Nora moments after burying Bajaber. The party is fishing for strong candidates to vie for different key elective posts at the Coast.

Wiper has big expectations in the 2022 election. The party leader wants to maintain Kisauni constituency currently held by Ali Mbogo, a member of the party. It is now actively seeking a strong candidate for Mvita seat, whose incumbent ODM’s Abdulswamad Nassir is going for the governor position.

Wiper is eyeing businessman Omar Shalo for Mvita. Shalo vied for the seat in 2017 on a Jubilee ticket.

On Monday, businessman Suleiman Shahbal introduced Shalo to Kalonzo at Bajaber’s burial. The two spoke briefly before a second meeting later at Alishaan restaurant in Tudor Nora, where they talked at length.

“Omar Shalo, we will be talking to him and many others to build an unbeatable team in Mombasa,” Kalonzo said.

 
 

“I was introduced to him today by Shahbal. And I looked at him and said: Yeah, the next MP.”  

According to a source, Kalonzo asked Shalo to work with Shahbal at the second meeting.

“Mombasa will be a Wiper stronghold,” Kalonzo said.

Already, there are positive signs Shalo is headed for Wiper. On Monday, the businessman said they had fruitful talks.

“He asked me to work with him. They want us to work together. I am still weighing my options. We will have further talks in Nairobi,” Shalo told the Star.

In 2017, Shalo, on a Jubilee ticket, garnered just over 13,000 votes but lost to Nassir. He said he now has a big task.

Kalonzo told the Star the plan is to make Mombasa a Wiper stronghold as a way to honour the departed Bajaber. Bajaber was key in the five NEC meetings held virtually during the Covid-19 period.

He had already fronted a list of individuals he said would be a great addition to Wiper from Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale counties.

The party leader said they have no intention of withdrawing from the Msambweni by-election set for December 15.

This is after reports indicated that Deputy President William Ruto’s camp, which is supporting independent candidate Feisal Bader, wants to convince other aspirants to withdraw in favour of their preferred candidate.

Kalonzo said, “We have no arrangement like that. We have a very strong candidate, Sheikh Mahmoud Abdulrahman.”

The party will be issuing him with the certificate of nomination to fly the Wiper flag in Msambweni. No other candidate has emerged to oppose him for the ticket.

Kalonzo said there will be no negotiation about the Msambweni seat.

“If there are others who want to support him, they are most welcome,” he said.

The former VP said they will be going all out to campaign for their candidate, including going door-to-door.

The plan is to build a strong network of Wiper members in elective positions to eventually take over the Coast region starting with Msambweni MP seat and the Wundanyi/Mbale MCA seat.

Wiper chairman Chirau Ali Mwakwere said the merger of candidates in Msambweni does not worry them. “Whether they are four or one, they will fail,” Mwawkere said.

Kalonzo expressed confidence they will grab the Wundanyi/Mbale MCA seat from ODM.