- Joho said if Nassir and Shahbal work as a team they will ensure Mombasa is not taken by ‘outsiders’ and ODM will also clinch all elective seats.
- Shahbal denied that he was offered a Cabinet Secretary position to drop his bid.
The Mombasa governor race is now shaping up into a battle between Governor Hassan Joho and former Nairobi county chief Mike Sonko.
Joho, who is completing his second term, has endorsed Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir as his preferred successor.
On Tuesday, Joho asked businessman Suleiman Shahbal to merge his campaign secretariat with that of Nassir.
Two weeks ago Shahbal stepped down from the race in favour of Nassir.
Joho said if Nassir and Shahbal work as a team they will ensure Mombasa is not taken by ‘outsiders’ and ODM will clinch all elective seats.
Sonko, who is seen as a spoiler, has vowed to wrest the seat from Joho’s control. He is expected to launch his campaign this Saturday.
Nassir is now expected to face off with Sonko (Wiper), Hassan Omar (UDA), and William Kingi (Pamoja African Alliance).
Joho led Mombasa leaders in campaigning for Nassir during the annual Eid Baraza celebrations he hosted at the Treasury Square on Tuesday.
“My brother Shahbal, thank you for shelving your ambitions in favour of Nassir. You have truly demonstrated that Mombasa is bigger than any of us. Please combine your secretariats and supporters to campaign for Nassir,” Joho said.
He promised Nassir his support saying that he will be available to offer advice on county matters to ensure that he delivers for the people of Mombasa.
“We need leadership that will be responsive to the needs and demands of our people. My brother Nassir is the best person to fill my shoes,” Joho said.
Shahbal, who was present during the event, once again declared his support for Nassir.
“I believe Nassir will deliver the vision and change I had for Mombasa. I will walk with you and support you wherever I can, change must come,” Shahbal said.
He said though the decision to step down in favour of Nassir was not an easy one and did not go well with his supporters, he did it for the love of Mombasa.
“I know my supporters were not happy with the decision. They even collected 60,000 signatures to persuade me to run as an independent. But I want to call on them and all residents to vote for Nassir,”Shahbal said .
He revealed that Joho and his brother Abubakar Joho initiated the talks that enabled ODM leader Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta to urge them to reach consensus.
Shahbal denied that he was offered a Cabinet Secretary position to drop his bid.
“I did not step down because I was promised a Cabinet position, but if I’m offered that position, I will not turn it down,” he said.
However, former Mombasa mayor Ahmed Muhdhar, who has been at loggerheads with Nassir, failed to declare his support, saying Shahbal did not consult him before stepping down.
“As far as things stand, my vote is still with Shahbal. He did not consult me and his people before making the decision,” Muhdhar said.
Muhdhar is a key figure in Mombasa politics. He was the last mayor before Joho took over as governor. He nurtured Joho into politics.
Muhdhar campaigned against Shahbal in 2013 and 2017 before throwing his weight behind him to succeed Joho in 2022.
However, Joho said he will personally talk to Muhdhar and ask him to support Nassir.
“Muhdhar is like a father figure to me, he held my hands as I joined politics. Together with my brother Abu we shall come to your house to seek your vote for Nassir. We want to see a united Mombasa,” Joho said .
Other leaders who threw their weight behind Nassir include Senator Mohammed Faki, MPs Badi Twalib (Jomvu), Mishi Mboko (Likoni) and Rashid Bedzimba (Kisauni
Aspirant Masoud Machele(Mvita MP) and Zamzam Mohammed(woman rep).
(Edited Tabnacha O)