‘Excluded’ Luo Union faction dumps Joho, back Omar for Mombasa governor

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, Mvita MP Abdulswamad Shariff and Senator Hassan Omar during a meeting at Parliament, July 12, 2016. /HEZRON NJOROGE

A section of members of the Luo Union Mombasa chapter have withdrawn their support for Governor Hassan Joho ahead of the August 8 general election.

The group, with is part of the 5,000 members, pledged their allegiance to Senator Hassan Omar of the Wiper party citing contempt on Joho’s part.

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The lot cited the haphazard sacking of members of the community from key jobs in the incumbent’s administration.

“Our stand is very simple. We do not support Joho. We cannot support Joho. We will never support Joho,” Mikindani MCA Duncan Onyango said on Tuesday.

“Nobody can persuade us to do so.”

The union’s chairman Remjius Ongoro, secretary Cleopas Okoth and Organising Secretary John Mbadi echoed the sentiments.

Last week, two Luo groups clashed over who to support for governor between Joho and Nyali MP Hezron Awiti.

While the Luo Council of Elders chairman Obara Kings said Joho is the best bet, the council’s founding member Joseph Obuya said the community better works with Awiti.

However, the development has blown the lid off the serious division within the group, perhaps occasioned by the respective head’s personal interests.

During a press conference in Mombasa on Tuesday, Onyango said the governor has monopolised jobs and other economic opportunities in the county.

“The rest of the community have been doomed to unending poverty,” he said adding that all the Luo MCAs elected on the ODM ticket were unfairly bundled out of the party primaries.

“The Luo community has told him on his face [that we will not vote for him]. That is why he is running to Raila to save him,” the MCA said.

Joho has come out to present himself as Raila’s astute defender.

He has been leading the NASA principal’s campaigns in Nyanza home turf.

However, the governor has been challenged to venture into Jubilee’s stronghold and stop focusing on areas where Raila will automatically get majority votes.

Ongoro said Luos have never stood for discrimination and oppression as seen under Joho’s leadership adding that it defeats the ODM leader’s quest to end authoritarianism.

“You cannot say you are supporting Baba (Raila) yet you are stepping on Luos at the ground,” the Luo Union chairman said.

The group’s members met with Raila in January and expressed frustration over what they called mistreatment, exclusion and being sidelined by Joho’s government.

Okoth said the community made Joho the governor and it deserved a bigger stake in the county government.

But Luos supporting Joho have often dismissed assertion of neglect, saying the governor has been loyal to them.

They said those complaining are interested in personal gains and are not out to fight for the community’s best interests.

However, a number of the community’s members among them Tubman Otieno, the county assembly clerk who was replaced by Salim Juma, have been hounded out.

Thadius Rajwayi who is the assembly speaker was hounded out of his office but got a reprieve after the court reinstated him.

Alome Achayo who was the Mombasa Water and Sanitation Company MD was replaced by Rajab Kombo in 2014. Kombo was later replaced by Peter Kimathi.

Christine Atego – head of procurement, Martin Odhiambo – the former chief valuer, Charles Suji – the ex-planning director and Walter Oselu – chief finance officer, were also sacked.

Others axed from since 2014 are Meshack Otieno, James Sadimba and Zablon Okeyo.

Joab Tumbo was demoted from being a Tourism CEC to Advisor on water matters.

It is against this backdrop that the community feels the governor has been unfairly targeting them.

-the-star.co.ke

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