What you need to know:
- ODM legislators in Mombasa vowed to support ‘one of their own’ for governorship.
- In a meeting with Old Town residents during the weekend, Mr Shahbal asserted to prove wrong his opponents.
Mombasa businessman Suleiman Shahbal has dismissed efforts by a section of ODM politicians in the county to gang up against his gubernatorial aspirations in the coming General Elections.
With the pending ODM primaries promising to be a cut-throat competition between himself and Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir, the party’s legislators in Mombasa have vowed to support ‘one of their own’.
Party leader Raila Odinga and Governor Hassan Joho who is serving his final term have often rejected calls to endorse one of the leaders.
ODM MPs Mishi Mboko (Likoni), Bady Twalib (Jomvu), Senator Mohamed Faki and County Woman Representative Asha Mohamed have joined forces with Mr Nassir in joint campaigns for several months now.
“The 2022 race is near, let us ensure we vote in our party leader Raila for the top seat. And in Mombasa, our candidate is Mr Nassir," Mr Faki said, during a recent voter registration sensitization drive.
The politicians have also been at the forefront in organizing Mr Odinga’s tours in the county, a move that political pundits claim might give Mr Nassir an upper hand in party primaries and eventual gubernatorial election.
However, in a meeting with Old Town residents, Mr Shahbal asserted to prove his opponents wrong.
“If I was able to compete against Ali Hassan Joho and gave him a run for his money, let those others bring it on now. Let them come,” he said.
Mr Shahbal has tried his luck in the gubernatorial race twice, through Wiper Party in 2013 and Jubilee in 2017 both in which he was trounced by Mr Joho.
Upon shifting allegiance to ODM earlier this year, he adopted town hall meetings as a strategy to reach out to various community groups especially since public rallies were disrupted by Covid-19 containment measures.
“I have toured the whole town to inform the public about my vision and to listen to their views because everyone has their opinions that can contribute to development,” he said.
During his weekend meetings, he reiterated his promise to submit a Bill to the county assembly that would allow the county government allocate Sh50 million to every ward for development, if he succeeds to take the mantle from Mr Joho.
Mr Shahbal told voters to weigh every promise made by leaders ahead of the elections, saying that some leaders make empty promises without explaining how they intend to implement them.
“The decision you make in 2022 will decide whether Mombasa will move forward or backwards in the next ten years. Every election year, someone will come here to make promises without elaborating their strategies,” he said.
The ODM ticket has also attracted interest from Deputy Governor William Kingi.
Other politicians gearing up for the gubernatorial race so far are former senator Hassan Omar of United Democratic Alliance and Wiper’s Ali Mbogo who is currently the MP for Kisauni constituency.