October 19th 2017

Top Stories / 2017 Elections

Is Governor Joho out to finish Senator Hassan Omar politically?

“The senator has been going around saying that he won his seat without ODM. Let him try this time on any party without Joho,” said Jamal Mohamed, a party activist from Changamwe.

By Free Press Correspondentnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comSunday, 19 Feb 2017 15:33 EAT

Mr Omar addressing media after Wiper Party National Executive Council meeting last month. (Photo: Courtesy/Kalonzo Musyoka's Facebook page).

One of Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho’s closest allies yesterday launched his campaign for the senator’s position currently held by Joho’s ally-turned-opponent Hassan Omar. Mohammed Abbas, who is Joho’s county executive committee member for Youth and Sports, is seeking nomination by the ODM of which Joho is the deputy party leader.

The county executive launched his campaigns through door-to-door meetings in Majengo where he tore into Mr Omar’s leadership. “A senator’s role is to work hand in hand with a governor. However here in Mombasa, we saw a senator who was always criticising the county leadership. Hassan Omar has failed in his work to promote the interests of Mombasa," he said.

Mr Abbas said that, thanks to the Mombasa Port and tourism in the county, Mombasa was the second largest source of revenue to the national government after Nairobi, yet in terms of resources trickling back to the counties it ranked at number 23.

“When disbursements to the counties are announced, Mombasa is always getting Sh5.3 billion from the government, much less than goes to Kwale and Kilifi which contribute much less to the exchequer than we do. But what is surprising is that our senator has never found this issue to be important,” he said.

Two other CEC members, Tendai Mtana (Education) and Hamisi Mwaguya (Trade) are also interested in the position, all on the ODM ticket. Joho’s deputy Hazel Katana, who recently defected to the Jubilee Party, is also running for the seat.

Among Joho’s critics, the governor is responsible for the increased defections of party members of ODM from the coastal region and is allegedly working hard to push Mr Omar out through his domineering politics. The defectors so far include Kwale governor Salim Mvurya and his deputy, several MPs, 11 members of the Mombasa County Assembly and parliamentary aspirants.

However, Joho’s supporters say he has remained firm in the party and has contributed immensely to it, to the extent of being punished by the national government when his security detail was withdrawn last month. “The senator has been going around saying that he won his seat without ODM. Let him try this time on any party without Joho,” said Jamal Mohamed, a party activist from Changamwe.

However, a close supporter of Mr Omar told this website that Joho was to blame for refusing to agree to a power deal that was being brokered by CORD leaders under which Mr Omar would rescind his interest in the governorship and be assured of support for the senate position. “We have no doubt that the governor is out to finish Sarai,” the source said.

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