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January 22, 2019

Either Raila or I will be ODM candidate in 2022 — Joho

Marathon legend Paul Tergat and Mombasa governor Hassan Joho after a meeting at the governor’s office on September 1 / ERNEST CORNEL
Marathon legend Paul Tergat and Mombasa governor Hassan Joho after a meeting at the governor’s office on September 1 / ERNEST CORNEL
Mombasa governor Hassan Joho has denied his party boss Raila Odinga rebuked asked him to drop presidential bid.
But inner details of ODM's June retreat in Mombasa reveals Joho and Kakamega governor Wycliff Oparanya's conducts were discussed. The governors were reportedly reprimanded to stop premature presidential campaigns. Both are ODM deputy party leaders.
The party said Raila was yet to confirm his candidacy and self-campaign by the duo was undermining his authority.
However, appearing on Citizen TV on Thursday night, Joho said they will discuss with Raila who should carry ODM flag. He boast of growing thick skin and influence.
"I will engage with Raila. Democracy has a broad spectrum," Joho told host Nimrod Taabu.
The governor diffused fears the race for ODM ticket will divide him and Raila, possibly leading to a walk out.
"Since 2004, my leader has remained to be Raila because of his ideology. It will remain so until I retire from politics," Joho said.
Joho is serving his his final term as the first governor of Mombasa. He's youthful, moneyed with open prospects of national leadership. He's hinted not to retire soon and vowed to venture into national politics and, make a name.
Whereas some sees him as a formidable force, critics have been arguing Joho is upping stakes to land a deputy president post with the front runner or, just a government appointment.
Amani National Congress Coast coordinator Jimmy Azangu on Friday said Joho's political career "dies with the governorship".
"His time is up. Being a president, let alone a national leader, requires millions of sacrifices which Joho is yet to make," he said.
The only position he can get - but in the remotest likelihood - is being the DP under ANC boss Musalia Mudavadi, Azangu said.
But Joho challenged the assertion.
"I'm not targeting to be the deputy president. I have been an MP, an assistant minister and a governor. I want the presidency. We will sell our agenda. It is not a must you come from the majority community to be the president, or a particular religion," he said in the 10-minute interview aired at 7pm.
Joho said meetings with influential leaders to maximize his chances of becoming Kenya's first president from the Coast, is planned.
"We are going to reach out to people who have strong impact in the community like Francis Atwoli, Musalia Mudavadi and very many other players who will make a different in the politics," he said in what appears to be his new game plan.
Early August, Joho met president Uhuru Kenyatta thrice in Mombasa and Kilifi. Each promised to build the others' legacy.
On August 15, he hosted Coast MCAs and asked them to support his presidential bid.
Ten days latter, Joho met retired President Daniel Moi.
"Moi told us to do all within our power to unite the country. For me, none will say something great than that," Joho said.
Joho denied his Coast base is in shambles and risk irreversible disintegration. He said all MPs -- including those supporting deputy president William Ruto -- will campaign for him locally as he traverse the country.
"I'm not isolated. Some people read too much in politics. I'm not looking at the regional politics but national, thus, I have to go beyond the former," Joho said.
Traditional opposition MPs are vouching for Ruto's candidature. They say Joho cannot lead.
But as a show of supremacy, Joho ensured Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi -- one of the leaders gravitating towards Ruto -- was part of the August 15 meeting. They pledged Coast unity.
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