Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho has endorsed Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir to take over from him as Governor of the port city in the 2022 General Elections. Joho is serving his second and final term as Governor.
Joho made the announcement while officiating the annual Governor’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Mombasa. Thanking him for the endorsement, Nassir promised that Joho would be the chief Guest at the 2022 Governor’s Christmas lighting ceremony, talking up his chances of winning.
The endorsement sets up a battle between Nassir and wealthy businessman Suleiman Shabhal who is also eyeing the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ticket for 2022. Shabhal ran against Joho for the seat on a Jubilee ticket in 2017 and lost, with ODM still the region’s most popular party.
Shabhal has already declared his intention to go for the seat and has been pictured with ODM Party leader Raila Odinga at a number of meetings. The investment banker has also been undertaking meet-the-people tours across the country.
A number of Coast MPs allied to ODM have thrown their weight behind Nassir in the race for Governor. Others who have expressed interest in the seat are Deputy Governor William Kingi and former Senator Hassan Omar who is currently allied to Deputy President William Ruto, Odinga’s archrival.
The move came against the backdrop of a visit by the ODM leader to Mombasa. In a meeting with elders and clergy members on Sunday, December 19, Odinga asked for permission to take ‘their son’ Joho to the national political stage as his term draws to a close.
Odinga spoke glowingly of Joho – stating that he had never deserted him. He broke down Joho’s rise from an MP fronted by ODM in the Kisauni by-election to a two-term governor.
“We have come a long way with Joho…There’s not a single day that Hassan Joho has deserted me.”
“I have come here to ask you if you will allow him to take him with me up there. Do you want him up there?” he asked to wild cheers from the crowd.
Joho rallied Mombasa residents to support Raila Odinga’s bid for the Presidency in 2022. He highlighted the importance of unity of purpose to drive the county forward.
“I want to appreciate the partnership as a (county) government that we have had with the clergy in Mombasa. We believe in our diversity. 0ur diversity is what has gotten us to where we are,” he asserted.