Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho is demanding to be picked as Mr Raila Odinga's running mate in this year's presidential election to return a favour to him and the Coastal people who have been supporting the ODM leader for close to two decades.
Governor Joho, who is also the ODM deputy party leader and who dropped his bid to contest as the party’s flagbearer in the August 2022 General Election in favour of Mr Odinga, is now asking the party to pick him as a running mate in the coming elections.
“But I am telling Mr Odinga that if they continue bugging him, he can pick me as his running mate. I am capable of becoming a deputy president. For 10 years, I have been a two-term governor but I will soon become a normal citizen. But I cannot thank you enough, my good people,” he said while bidding farewell to Mombasa residents at the Mama Ngina Waterfront on New Year’s eve.
Mr Odinga is yet to name his preferred running mate.
Mr Joho is eying a national leadership position after ending his final term as governor.
In September last year, Mr Joho dropped his presidential bid in favour of his party leader after he was promised an influential Cabinet position.
He says he is ready to retire from local politics to join the national arena.
While giving his New Year message, the Mombasa governor said he will contest for the presidency in the 2027 General Election.
“This time around I am not on the ballot but I am drumming up support for Mr Odinga. But 2027 will be my year; I will vie for the top seat. Were it not for my people’s support I wouldn’t have become who I am today. I give you thanks. I love my people so much,” he said.
He added, “I will not be here after the polls, but I don’t take it for granted that for the 10 years I have been at the helm, you have been with me wholeheartedly, supporting and loving me. I love you very much Mombasa people.”
He said that were it not for his supporters, he would not have been in politics or elected as the first Mombasa governor.
Recently, Mr Odinga urged election losers not to defect, promising them jobs in government if elected president.
Mr Joho joined politics in 2007 as the Kisauni MP.
In 2013, he became the first Mombasa governor, a position he has been holding to date.
The county boss urged Coast communities to remain united and coexist in peace and harmony.
“I am proud of this county. We have all tribes and we believe in our coexistence. We are happy about the progress we are making,” he said.
Last month, the governor endorsed his closest ally, Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir, as his preferred candidate to succeed him. His deputy William Kingi, Mr Nassir and businessman Suleiman Shahbal are angling for the ODM party ticket.
Mr Nassir said he will continue with Mr Joho’s legacy if elected governor.
“When you go to Nairobi, do not forget us. Stand by us as we have always done when you were at the helm,” Mr Nassir told Mr Joho.
Jomvu MP Badi Twalib urged Coast residents to support Mr Odinga in his quest for presidency.
Other aspirants eying the Mombasa governor’s seat include Kisauni MP Ali Mbogo (Wiper), former Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar, former Nyali MP Awiti Bolo (UDF), Mohammed Bahaidar (UDA) and Sanjeev Agwaral (UDA).