Deputy President William Ruto has claimed a big political win after a member of the powerful Joho family joined the United Democratic Alliance (UDA).
Governor Hassan Ali Joho’s cousin, Mr Mohammed Amir, yesterday joined UDA as he plans to vie for the Mombasa senatorial seat on the party’s ticket in the 2022 General Election.
It’s a significant victory for the DP in a region that has stuck with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga in the last three election cycles, given the financial muscles of the family and their influence in local politics.
While Mr Amir’s move might create divisions in the family, the jury is out on whether it will tip the scales in favour of Dr Ruto in Mombasa politics.
Received in UDA by former Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar, Mr Amir took a swipe at his cousin’s administration, saying Governor Joho had failed to lift the people of Mombasa out of poverty.
“He received funds from the national government, but there’s nothing to show for it. As a leader, you must find a mechanism to help your people. Give us a solution; you have the resources,” he said.
Mr Amir cited the challenges of water in Mombasa, where slum dwellers depend on donations.
“We now have Dr Ruto, who is going to deliver that vision for the people. Opportunities were around to help but they failed. Look at Bangladesh, people are struggling due to lack of water yet we have leaders who have been in power for so many years,” he said. “I hope voters will heed my call and give me a chance. If we want to change Mombasa, we need to support the DP; we have suffered enough.”
He said the national government has been pumping a lot of money to the devolved unit, but funds had not been utilised for their intended purposes.
“I’ll work for the people because I have a different vision from that of my family. I wasn’t participating in party politics. We are in a democratic country, we can have siblings who defer in opinion,” said Mr Amir, adding that he was a strong believer of the bottom-up economic model.
“Family will always be family and politics will remain politics. I am doing what I feel is right. There’s a need for change. I am ready for any challenge. Politics is dirty,” he added.
He went on: “My aim is to help the people. From my perspective, UDA has the right vision and agenda for wananchi. They are looking at the people from the bottom going up not the other way round. Dr Ruto is the only candidate who has Kenyans’ interest at heart.”
Mr Amir was quick to state that being in different parties does not mean he’s now enemies with Mr Joho noting that “there are other families where brothers are in different political parties, such as Ford-Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula and Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi (ODM)”.
In 2018, Mr Amir served in his Mr Joho’s administration, heading the county inspectorate department.
“We have no ill will, grudge, or hatred towards the governor or his family. We will evaluate everyone independently. People should not equate differences in politics to hatred and personal differences, it will be unfair for us to deny anybody to join us based on his family,” Mr Omar stated.