December 13th 2017

Top Stories / 2017 Elections

Joho makes grand return, answers critics on ODM Coast defections

ODM has lost a number of top leaders to its coalition partner Wiper Democratic Movement and some to Jubilee Party. The latest high profile defector is former cabinet minister Ali Chirau Mwakwere, who joineD Wiper Party last week.

By Free Press Correspondentnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comSunday, 05 Mar 2017 18:38 EAT

The governor addressing his supporters at Changamwe this afternoon.

Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho made a triumphant return from his three-week visit to the United States of America with a whistle-stop tour of nearly all constituencies in this seaside county. The governor sounded vindicated by his visit to the U.S, firing warnings to detractors who have been linking him to suspected drug dealing in the Coast.

A 10-foot banner by his supporters was emblazoned with boastful statements, in Kiswahili, asserting that the governor had shamed his enemies by visiting the U.S, answering to propaganda that he was wanted in the superpower country for drug dealing.

Mr Joho’s grand rallies, however, were notable for the consistency with which he addressed the subject of increasing defections from ODM by politicians at the Coast. “Those who are defecting are going alone, the people in Mombasa and throughout the coast remain in O-D-M,” he said, emphasizing the party’s name at each stop.

ODM has lost a number of top leaders to its coalition partner Wiper Democratic Movement and some to Jubilee Party. The latest high profile defector is former cabinet minister Ali Chirau Mwakwere, who joined Wiper Party last week. Many believe that Mr Mwakwere was avoiding the prospect of bungled nominations. Others, however, say he was positioning himself for the Kamba bloc vote from such areas as Lunga Lunga, Ukunda, Shimba Hills and Mariakani.

The governor’s allies addressed the defections that have occured with increased regularity also in Kilifi and Mombasa, but he did not mention individuals by name when he spoke. In recent weeks, a number of ODM supporters from the Coast have alleged that the governor had an overbearing character that was pushing some party members out of ODM.

Mr Joho maintained his firm support for ODM leader Raila Odinga, stating that the Coast had voted for Mr Odinga since 2007 and was not about to change. He mentioned NASA, the opposition alliance, only sparingly, reflecting his commitment to Mr Odinga and not to any of the partners in the coalition.

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