VIDEO: Handshakes continue as Joho warms up to Jubilee
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho has toned down his criticism of the Jubilee administration and signalled he could bury the hatchet and work with President Uhuru Kenyatta following his deal with Nasa leader Raila Odinga.
The flamboyant governor who always given the Jubilee administration sleepless nights at the Coast on Saturday shook hands with several ruling party leaders.
Speaking during a tree planting exercise in Shanzu, Mombasa, Mr Joho who has not been seeing eye to eye with the Jubilee leaders said the handshake between President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga has changed the political terrain.
“Senator [Kimani] Wamatangi has been a good friend of mine even before I joined politics, but we only used to meet at night,” Mr Joho said.
Mr Joho pledged to work with Jubilee leaders to address issues affecting Kenyans.
“Nasa leaders are the best, and I want to say that our good leaders will unite with the good ones in Jubilee and work together. We are very happy to work with the national government because we will now be in a position to sort out a lot of issues affecting our people,” said Mr Joho.
The Mombasa governor shook hands with Jubilee senators Wamatangi (Kiambu), Charles Kibiru (Kirinyaga) and Millicent Omanga (nominated).
Also present were Mombasa Senator Mohamed Faki and Homa Bay’s Moses Kajwang’.
Mr Wamatangi led the leaders in urging Mr Joho to put behind “small differences that have been here and there.”
“The interest of the people is the most important one. The Jubilee leaders are good people and we want to ensure we unite with everyone,” said Mr Wamatangi.
Mr Joho and Mr Wamatangi termed the handshake between President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga as contagious.
“Our bosses shook hands and we supported the move and probably we will work together. [President] Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga shook hands. Raila is my boss and we are behind the unity,” he said.
“It is because of the handshake that we are here and I want to welcome the leaders who have come. Were it not for the handshake we would not have met here,” he said.
Mr Joho asked senators to give governors time to work before exercising their oversight roles.
The governor hailed Mr Faki for initiating development projects, saying unlike his predecessor he had done a lot to uplift the lives of the locals.
Mr Faki helped the county receive a donation of medical equipment worth millions of shillings from the Denmark government.
Mr Joho has been a key critic of the President Kenyatta’s regime, always taking him head-on on various issues.
The differences saw President Kenyatta bar Mr Joho from attending his events at the Coast.
After his return, from his two-month trip overseas last month, Mr Joho said the pact between President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga will not deter his presidential bid.
Mr Odinga and President Kenyatta’s pact has changed the political wave at the Coast with some Nasa leaders now embracing Jubilee leaders.
Some ODM MPs have also indicated they would back Deputy President William Ruto’s presidential bid.
Nasa scooped most of the seats at the six Coast counties in the last General Election and regard it as their turf.
Mr Joho has announced that he will be going for the presidency in the 2022 race, and his move to reach out to Jubilee leaders is seen in some quarters as a way of building up bridges.
The governor’s close ally, Kilifi’s Amason Kingi, is also eyeing the top seat and has vowed to form his own party.
Mr Joho has been keen on riding the huge ODM support and inheriting Mr Odinga’s supporters if the former prime minister does not contest in 2022.
By MOHAMED AHMED