JOHO GIVES CONDITIONS TO SUPPORT JUBILEE
COAST leaders have lined up a list of issues they want President Uhuru Kenyatta to address in a region that voted overwhelmingly for Cord leader Raila Odinga.
According to sources, President Uhuru is keen to win the hearts of coastal voters ahead of the 2017 elections with his main focus presently being Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho.
Several governors, including Salim Mvurya of Kwale and Amason Kingi of Kilifi, and a host of MPs, have in recent days indicated that they are ready to work closely with Uhuru.
Last Friday, Uhuru and Joho held a consultative meeting at State House, Mombasa, where the governor is said to have presented a wish list of issues the President should address.
Sources said the governor was keen on having the President first show his commitment in resolving the thorny land issue in the coastal region and also pay attention to infrastructure projects.
A source close to Joho and also present during the meeting, said the two leaders discussed in detail the issues of land and the poor road network in Mombasa.
The source said the President listened to the issues raised and agreed to resolve some of them and said he will invite the governor to Nairobi for a follow-up meeting.
“Some of the issues raised included the Kibarani Bypass, Mwakirunge-Kaloleni road, Junda-Tudor Bridge and increment of revenue allocated to Mombasa county. The President agreed to work on the road issue immediately,” our source said.
Also under discussion was the fact that the revenue allocated to Mombasa county is Sh4.5 billion, which is less than Kilifi county’s Sh8 billion and Kwale county’s Sh9 billion.
“Almost 90 per cent of revenue allocated by the national government goes to salaries,” the source said. According to the source, the next meeting between Uhuru and Joho is scheduled to take place within a week.
The President landed in Mombasa on Friday evening after a development tour of Kilifi county. He was received by Joho and Kisauni MP Rashid Benzimba at the Mombasa Golf Club before the team headed to State House for the discussions.
Joho is a die-hard-supporter of opposition leader Raila Odinga, whose ODM party ticket he run on for to become Mombasa governor.
Political observers have hinted that Joho could be warming up to President Uhuru’s charm offensive of ensuring that he takes away as many Cord leaders as possible to support Jubilee in 2017.
President Uhuru received a warm reception during his tour of Kilifi county on Friday and his previous tour of Mombasa on which he mingled with wananchi on the Jomo Kenyatta Public Beach.
However, Joho’s allies rubbished the idea of the President and governor joining forces, saying Joho cannot decamp from Cord for Jubilee in 2017 merely by being promised “goodies by Uhuru.”
“He is Cord and will ever continue to support his party manifesto – including the referendum. Working with the government does not mean he is moving out of ODM,” said one ally. A Mombasa lawyer also dismissed the significance of the meetings.
“You want to tell me that all the historical injustices committed against Coast people, where most do not even own the land they live on, can be wiped away by a politician defecting to the ruling coalition? That politician himself is likely to find that he has moved without the people,” he said.
“Look at the ownership of beach plots where hardly any locals have titles, look at the composition of the Board of the Kenya Ports Authority where other communities are most represented, look at the reasons why people overwhelmingly voted for Raila and tell me if Joho defecting to Jubilee will lead to a mass exodus of Cord supporters. Some people think Joho cannot see this, but he is a shrewd politician and knows exactly the danger of jumping to Jubilee,” the lawyer added.