Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Monday, 13 Mar 2017 10:46 EATnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.com
Mombasa governor Hassan Joho has just completed a press conference, broadcast live on KTN, responding to his 'detention' earlier this morning by a team of regular police and GSU officers. The governor had left his Nyali home this morning to drive to his office at the Mombasa County government headquarters when police officers stopped his motorcade at a roadblock and urged him to drive back home.
The officers said they were under instruction to block the governor from leaving his compound, which came under police siege for hours, according to a brief given earlier in the morning by his spokesman Richard Chacha. The officers were under instructions to ensure the governor did not attend a function to be addressed by President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is visiting Mombasa County today.
The president is due to preside over the relaunch of the Mtongwe Ferry which has been refurbished by the national government. He apparently did not want the governor to share a podium with him, their last such meeting in the region having ended in disarray when Joho questioned the value of the president's visits to the Coast.
Yesterday, the president's spokesman Manoah Esipisu released a full list of all the development projects that he said the Jubilee government had implemented at the Coast, a move that was interpreted as part of an effort to undercut the opposition's accusations that Jubilee was not promoting development in the region.
The governor today charged that the president was misusing his power by barring him from the meeting and using the police to block his movement. "This is misuse of power," Mr Joho said, explaining that he had the right to attend the president function as a citizen and governor of Mombasa.
"I don't attend these functions because I love the president, these are public functions and he only happens to be the president at this particular time," said the governor, who said the police were under instruction to detain him but were "courteous" enough to let him drive to his destination.
He maintained his previous position that the president should justify his search for votes in the Coast region by demonstrating what he had done for the people.
The governor's detention sparked protests from opposition leaders who held that the government was loosing direction. "The Jubilee government is fighting Joho in Mombasa, fighting doctors in court, fighting women in Bomas, fighting lecturers in school and fighting the Turkanas in their home," said Mbita MP Millie Odhiambo.
"The office of the Inspector General should be protected from Executive disorder. Independence of institutions should not be waived every election year," said security sector consultant Edward Wanyonyi.