KEY STRATEGY

Shahbal banks on youth to win Mombasa top seat

Young people make up 65 per cent of all the registered voters in the county

In Summary
  • He first picked Joho’s former political adviser Idris Abdulrahman to lead his campaign secretariat.
  • According to Shahbal, he promoted the youth leaders at the grassroots to lead his campaign.
Suleiman Shahbal shows his football prowess at Serani grounds Mombasa during the launch of the Shahbal Super Cup
LURING THE YOUTH Suleiman Shahbal shows his football prowess at Serani grounds Mombasa during the launch of the Shahbal Super Cup
Image: LABAN WALLOGA

Mombasa businessman Suleiman Shahbal is on a charm offensive to lure the youth to back his 2022 governor bid.

Having lost twice to Governor Hassan Joho in 2013 and 2017, Shahbal,  has since changed tack and hopes to capitalise on the youth vote.

In Mombasa county, the youth make up 65 per cent of all the registered voters.

According to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission 2017 voter register, Mombasa had 580,223 registered voters, with a majority below 35.

Some youths will be voting for the first time this year.

In the second round of the voter listing, which began on Monday, IEBC targets to register 190,237 new voters in the county.

Most of these new voters are those who have just completed their secondary education.

Shahbal, who decamped from Jubilee party to ODM last year, will battle it out with Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir and current Mombasa deputy governor William Kingi for the ODM ticket.

He first picked Joho’s former political adviser Idris Abdulrahman to lead his campaign secretariat.

According to Shahbal, he promoted the youth leaders at the grassroots to lead his campaign.

They have been traversing the region, conducting door-to-door campaigns, selling his agenda.

On December 12 last year, the youthful team led a series of 12 walks across 12 wards in the county popularising his candidature.

Speaking to the Star, Abdulrahman decried that more than half the population in Mombasa is made up of the youth, but they have been ignored.

 “The youth are the future of this country, you need to travel with them, give them hope and create investments for them, that is why our agenda is driven by the youth,” Abdulrahman said.

On Monday 17,  the businessman announced the launch of the Shahbal Super Cup Football Tournament expected to begin on February 12.

He is targeting 128 teams from all the 30 wards in Mombasa with Sh1 million cash prize up for grabs.

In October last year, he opened a music recording studio operating under the SS Media at a cost of Sh15 million, where upcoming artists can nurture their talents.

He has also been vocal about the upcoming Special Economic Zone that will be established once the construction of the multi-billion shilling Dongo Kundu Road is completed.

“Our agenda is to have modern technical polytechnics in every subcounty so that in the next few years, the youth will be armed with the required skills, we need to prepare them for the job market” Abdulrahma said.

Since last year, about 110 youths have benefited from technical training skills at the National Industrial Training Authority College in Mombasa sponsored by Shahbal Foundation.

Another batch of 300 youth have undergone leadership training through the Leadership Focus Initiative under Shahbal’s patronage with 1,000 more set to be trained this year.

“We are more receptive to Shahbal because he believes the youth are the leaders of today, we have had dialogues and he listens and implements our ideas,” Violet Adera, a youth from Jomvu said.

Her sentiments were echoed by Fatma Mbarak, a youth leader from Kisauni who said that Shahbal inspires hope to the young people in areas adversely affected by the drug menace.