ODM seeks to avert fallout as 3 tussle for Hassan Joho mantle

William kingi

Deputy Governor William Kingi, Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir and businessman Suleiman Shahbal.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

ODM is in discussions with its main gubernatorial contenders in Mombasa County to avoid a fallout and keep its support base intact ahead of the 2022 elections.

With campaigns to succeed Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho gathering momentum, ODM officials are burning the midnight oil to avert a rift that could cost the party the seat.

The seat has attracted several candidates, who are equally enjoying the support of voters, but ODM currently faces the headache of choosing among Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir, businessman Suleiman Shahbal and Deputy Governor William Kingi, who are all gunning for the seat on an ODM ticket.

On Saturday, ODM Mombasa branch Chairman Mohamed Hamid said a consensus has not yet been reached on the suitable candidate to succeed Mr Joho, who is serving his final term.

“We are still discussing the matter and a final decision has not yet been arrived at,” he said, adding that the party’s supporters will have the final say.

Should the party fail to reach a consensus on who among Mr Shahbal,Mr Nassir, and Mr Kingi will be its flagbearer, the stalemate will have to be decided through nominations.

Free nominations

Though ODM has promised to conduct fair and free nominations in all the elective seats, the outfit led by Mr Raila Odinga is keen on a truce to avoid a rift.

The party is keen not to repeat the mistakes it made in 2017 that saw it lose the Taita Taveta gubernatorial seat to Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper Democratic Movement. The hotly contested nomination saw ODM controversially hand over its ticket to former Wundanyi MP Thomas Mwadeghu, who lost to incumbent Governor Granton Samboja, who vied on a Wiper ticket.

Mr Samboja floored former Governor John Mruttu, who unsuccessfully defended his seat as an independent candidate after being allegedly rigged out during the ODM nominations. He unsuccessfully contested the primary results at the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal.

Mr Mruttu won the seat in 2013 on an ODM ticket. The result of the shambolic nominations in 2017 saw ODM votes in Taita Taveta split between Mr Mruttu and Mr Mwadeghu, thereby handing Mr Samboja an easy win. 

Mr Mwadeghu came fourth. He was beaten by Mr Mruttu and even Mr Dan Mwazo, who vied for the seat on a Jubilee Party ticket.

But ODM now seems to be putting its house in order to successfully defend the Mombasa gubernatorial seat that has so far attracted at least five candidates.

They include Dr Kingi, former Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar, Kisauni MP Ali Mbogo, Mr Nassir and Mr Shahbal.

Mr Omar is expected to vie for the seat on UDA party ticket while Mr Mbogo is for Wiper.

While the other competitors have one candidate each, ODM is facing a dilemma on who to pick from the three aspirants, who are battling for one ticket.

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