Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho has said he is a law-abiding citizen who has never cut corners to earn his wealth.
Joho, who declined to declare his wealth, dismissed as political propaganda claims that he engages in the illicit drug trade, saying “those behind the dirty politics aimed at mudslinging my name will never succeed”.
The governor, who has been on the spot over his criticism of President Uhuru Kenyatta's Coast month-long visit, spoke for the first time about his family business tribulations on Tuesday evening’s Citizen TV programme 'The Big Question'.
Speaking in fluent English, Joho tactfully answered hard-hitting questions from the public put to him by Hussein Mohammed, who moderated the talk show.
Joho also talked about his political ambitions of gunning for the presidency in 2022 and his academic achievements, which have in the past been a subject of controversy.
He absolved his family’s Container Freight Stations of any contraband allegations, saying the verification of goods is not the CFS owners’ but the Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Bureau of Standards, the police and other state agencies’.
“Let it be known clearly here that CFS owners do not verify goods in any way . . . The CFS owner is not even in charge of manning the gate, we only store cargo before it is cleared,” said Joho.
Confirming that he is a wealthy individual, Joho said he has been in the shipping business together with a sibling from an early age, long before he ventured into active politics in 2004, unsuccessfully contesting the Kisauni by-election, which he lost to Annania Mwaboza.
“I thank God we are a successful family in business. It is only unfortunate that, in Kenya, one is accused of engaging in dirty games whenever one succeeds, especially upon getting into active politics,” said Joho.
Joho, who dismissed reports of 100,000 Mombasa drug addicts as false, said he has been in the forefront fighting the menace through rehabilitation and outreach programmes funded by the county government, the Hassan Joho and the Shariff Nassir Foundations, among other initiatives.
“Did you see any addicts as you came to town from the airport, and, if not, then where were they, because such a figure is too big to hide, especially from a population of about 900,000 residents?” said Joho.
Joho, who acknowledged that drug abuse is real across the county, claimed there are some NGOs that benefit from such bloated figures of drug addicts.
On his academic papers, especially his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Kampala University, Joho said the University Senate had come out in public stating that the documents are genuine.
On the public spat with Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s presence, Joho said his brand of politics does not allow him to respond to insults.