- The entry of Sonko in the race to succeed Governor Joho has rattled the ODM camp.
- The former Nairobi governor has already issued a warning that he is going to turn Mombasa, a traditionally ODM stronghold, into a Wiper zone.
Former Nairobi governor Mike Sonko and his running mate Ali Mbogo are expected to sign a power-sharing deal this Saturday in Mombasa.
This is despite Sonko getting flak from the ODM side of the Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya Coalition.
The signing ceremony will set the stage for the launch of a gruelling and aggressive Wiper campaign that is expected to shake their ODM partners in the coalition.
Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka is expected to tour the Coast region, starting with Voi on Wednesday, culminating in the deal signing ceremony on Saturday.
“The signing of the agreement to share the county government will be done in Mombasa so as to have the people of Mombasa own the process,” Mbogo, who is the Kisauni MP, said on phone Tuesday.
The entry of Sonko in the race to succeed Governor Hassan Joho in Mombasa has rattled the ODM camp.
On Monday, Joho led his ODM troops, including Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir, who wants to succeed him, speaker Aharub Khatri, among others, in criticising Sonko and Kalonzo.
“We want a leader who can easily unite the people of Mombasa. That leader is Abdulswamad Nassir," Joho, who is keen for ODM to retain the seat, said.
Sonko has already issued a warning that he is going to turn Mombasa, a traditionally ODM stronghold, into a Wiper zone.
“If we turned Nairobi into Jubilee from the senator, MCAs and MPs, Mombasa will become a Wiper county,” Sonko said when he was unveiled as the Wiper aspirant for the Mombasa governor seat.
And with his resources, this has not been taken lightly by the ODM brigade.
Nassir, in a thinly veiled criticism of Kalonzo, said Mombasa county is not for sale.
However, Wiper leaders in Mombasa said Sonko’s umbilical cord was also buried in Mombasa making him a native.
“Sonko has come to Mombasa as a son of Mombasa. He has come back home. His DNA, because his mother is Saumu, is Digo. You know a child by their mother,” Millicent Odhiambo, a wiper aspirant for the Nyali MP seat, said.
Odhiambo, who likened Sonko to the biblical Moses who rescued Israelites from bondage in Egypt, said Mombasa has no owners.
She further said the owners of Mombasa, a trading town, are those who live in Mombasa.
Mbogo said the ODM brigade should not run scared yet they have not even hit the ground.
“When you see even the governor himself coming out openly to support someone and he had been behind the scenes, it tells you something,” Mbogo said.
“The team has not started (campaigning) yet. We are planning to have a big rally this weekend after the signing of the power sharing deal,” the Kisauni MP said.
Wiper Mombasa county chairperson Sheikh Omar Twaha said the trees with the best fruits is the one that will be targeted.
“If you see people worrying about a certain person and not others, know that that certain person has something that worries people,” Twaha said.
Political analyst Maimuna Mwidau on Tuesday said Sonko’s entry into the political matrix in Mombasa is a threat to both ODM and Joho’s political supremacy at the Coast.
She said Nassir’s failure in Mombasa will be Joho’s failure and this will have a ripple effect on his political future, especially at the national level.
Should Nassir fail to capture the seat, it will be an indictment of the Joho leadership, and that will easily give Pamoja African Alliance leader and Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi the upper hand in the fight for supremacy at the Coast.
Joho has to support Nassir because he needs Nassir’s support for his ambition of becoming Raila’s running mate or a plum job in the Azimio Cabinet should they clinch the presidency.
Mwidau said a significant section of Mombasa people are angry at businessman Suleiman Shahbal for abandoning them after raising their hopes for change.
Shahbal, who stepped down in favour of Nassir in the race for the ODM ticket and eventually for the governorship, had been campaigning on the change mantra.
‘Change is Coming’ had been his political slogan and it resonated well with those who are tired of the Joho administration.
On Monday, at the Ronald Ngala grounds during Eid-ul-fitr prayers, Shahbal rejected Sonko’s candidature in the Mombasa governor race.
“This issue of bringing mad men to be leaders should stop,” he said.
"Now that Shahbal has joined them (Joho and Nassir), a good number of his supporters are looking for an alternative to continue their change campaign and will look at Sonko as a viable option," Mwidau said.
“Assuming Sonko wins, then Mombasa has protested against the Johos. This is not about Abdulswamad.
“And remember Kenyans always reject projects. Uhuru (in 2002) was rejected not because people hated Uhuru. They saw it as a continuation of the Moi era,” she said.
Many people in Mombasa feel Nassir will be easily influenced by the Joho family, given their closeness and history.
“The mistake Shahbal did was not consulting his supporters before cutting a deal with Nassir, Baba and President Kenyatta, who brokered the deal," the analyst said.
“He should have at least consulted his supporters in a Kamukunji. Now few will listen to him.”
She said Kalonzo saw the gap in Mombasa and brought Sonko to fill it and ride on the county residents' desire for change.
“This is also part of the continuing sibling rivalry at the national level in Azimio. There is that fight for the number two.
“Wiper feels ODM is dominating the coalition. There is some war somewhere there that will also be replicated at the county level,” she said.
Mwidau further said although there are other good people who have sound policies to develop Mombasa, their lack of aggressiveness fails them.
“If you listen to some of them like (Governor Joho’s deputy) William Kingi, who comes from the academic world, you will be impressed. But on the ground people are not interested in that.”
She said the nature of Kenyan politics where the poor want solutions to their immediate problems plays into Sonko’s populist pro-poor politics.
The flamboyant former Nairobi governor has already said he will bring three water boozers per week in each of the six subcounties in Mombasa to help alleviate the water problem.
“He has promised to hire youth through the Sonko Rescue Team to unclog the drainages too. So there are jobs coming, there is money coming and there is water coming even before the election," Mwidau said.
'That is what the poor want to see and hear.”
(edited by Amol Awuor)