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Uhuru to officially receive Joho’s deputy Katana during Coast tour

Mombasa Deputy Governor Hazel Katana, who defected from ODM to Jubilee Party, speaks at Lohar hall in Mombasa, January 28, 2017. /BRIAN OTIENO

The President will officially welcome Mombasa deputy governor Hazel Katana to Jubilee Party at Mombasa State House on Thursday.

Katana announced his defection to Jubilee at Lohar Hall Mombasa on Saturday citing frustrations from her boss Hassan Johoand ODM party.

She said the disrespect and mistrust she was accorded sowed the seeds of Jubilee in her heart.

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“I was called stupid, worthless and valueless. Now I have found a voice,” she said.

Mombasa county Jubilee chair Matano Chengo confirmed to the Star that Katana will be meeting President Uhuru Kenyattaa.

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Chengo said during an interview on Tuesday that Katana’s defection dealt Joho’s camp and Raila Odinga’s ODM party a big blow.

The union between Joho and Katana, a member of the Mijikenda community, is said to have enabled the former clinch the Governor seat by a bigger margin. The Mijikenda community is the singl- largest voting bloc in the county.

Insiders said the bellicose nature of Joho’s politics played a role in Katana’s defection from ODM.

Katana is said to be a timid leader who does not like confrontation.

Uhuru is expected to return to the Coast on Wednesday and tour Kwale county to issue IDs to the Makonde people, who have been fighting for recognition in a country they have lived in since the 1940s.

The Makonde came into the country to work on sugarcane and sisal plantation as farmers, but the governemnt had not recognised them as Kenyans.

Uhuru is also expected to meet Jubilee officials in the Coast region.

On Tuesday, several Jubilee branded Prados were seen parked outside State House in Mombasa in readiness for his visit.

“We are currently in a meeting planning on the President’s tour,” Chengo said on phone.

Jubilee has been trying to make inroads in the Coast, which is considered an opposition stronghold, but Joho and other Cord leaders in the region have been frustrating them.

Early in January, Joho blasted Uhuru accusing him of failing to initiate projects at the coast and only riding on donor-funded projects.

The accusation did not go well with the Jubilee side, allegedly leading to the withdrawal of Joho’s bodyguards. The government denied that this was the case.

To ensure Joho loses ground, Jubilee has initiated schemes incuding ensuring politicians close to Joho decamp to the ruling coalition.

Jubilee is said to have been courting Katana for a year. Her decision to defect from ODM was sealed after she met Uhuru at State House in Mombasa early in January.

Uhuru assured Katana of his full support and other incentives.

Projects done by Jubilee in the last one year include the construction of the new block at the Kongowea market, renovation of the Mackinnon vegetables and the meat markets and expansion of the Airport Road.

-the-star.co.ke

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