Why Mombasa MCAs rejected chief officer nominee John Kiprop

Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir makes his inaugural address before the County Assembly on October 24, 2022.

Photo credit: Kevin Odit I Nation

Governor Abdulswamad Nassir's political dalliance with the Kenya Kwanza coalition has been put to test after Mombasa MCAs rejected his chief officer nominee for renewable energy, natural resources and climate change resilience John Kiprop.

The Ward Reps rejected Mr Kiprop's nomination claiming he is a non-local, cannot converse in Swahili and does not belong to the opposition political wing.

They also wondered why a man worth Sh41 million would seek employment in Mombasa.

During the heated debate at the County Assembly, Port Reitz MCA Fadhili Makarani said Mr Kiprop should be rejected because he is unfamiliar with Mombasa being a non-resident.

“He was born in Baringo in 1974 and he has never lived, worked or schooled in Mombasa. During the vetting, he did not show his love for Mombasa. It would have made a difference if he was a resident. That is why I am rejecting him,” he added.

“Also, his academic profession is wanting, or whoever interviewed him or made this report erred. We have been told he has 20 years’ experience in his profession and in 2014, he was an assistant county commissioner cadet, and an assistant chief; this shows the committee got confused while preparing this report,” added Mr Makarani.

Mr Makarani said the nominee does not understand his role in the county government.

“In his statements, there is no place he mentioned that he is familiar with the county or the role.  The whole report shows that he is connected and ready to change the position,” he added during the debate at the Mombasa County Assembly.

Chaani MCA Franklin Makanga wondered why a “wealthy man” would want to work in the county government.

Fluent Kiswahili

“He does not deserve to be in our cabinet. Worst still he cannot speak fluently in Kiswahili, he does not know where Changamwe, Chaani or Bangladesh are. What change will he bring? He does not deserve this post,” said Mr Makanga.

Shanzu MCA Allen Katana said it would be unfair for the assembly to approve the nominee yet he was not a member of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Party.

“Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua was very categorical when he said the government will first benefit the shareholders. Mombasa is an ODM turf, why would we want to reward a shareholder (of the national government)? Mr Speaker, I reject this man based on the DP’s statement,” said Mr Katana amid cheers from his colleagues.

His Kadzandani counterpart Fatma Kushe said it was sad that the nominee could not utter any Swahili word during vetting.

“Now why would we allow such a man to take over such a crucial docket? How will he talk to our people? If someone doesn’t fit it let's not rubberstamp authority for the sake of it let us stand by the truth, and let's fear God. Some of his academic credentials seem fake,” said Ms Kushe.

But the chairperson of the Committee on Water, Natural Resources and Climate Change Resilience Leila Nyache defended the nominee saying he was selected because he is qualified academically and has vast experience.

Junda MCA Sylvester Kai said Mr Kiprop should be approved because he is a minority.

No law requirement

“Yes, he is from Baringo but he is qualified. We need to consider minorities. There is no law requirement where a person seeking employment is supposed to prove that he lives in Mombasa for him to be given the opportunity. That is unfair and discriminatory,” he said.

There was a heated debate when some of the MCAs accused the county leadership of favouring some tribes.

Kongowea MCA Samuel Mwaura said the nominee deserves the position.

“He has the requisite qualities and skills to do the work. In our vetting we confirmed that he understands Mombasa and issues of climate change,” he said.

However, Mr Kiprop was rejected by the house. 

Some of the ward representatives pledged to “punish” Mr Nassir for abandoning ODM, and what they termed as “forgetting the hands that fed him”.
They dared him to shift base to UDA instead of playing “safe” politics.

That Mr Kiprop’s rejection had political undertones that could not go unnoticed.

Mr Nassir, a first-term governor who was elected on an ODM ticket, accompanied

Except Kilifi

President William Ruto who is also the UDA party leader to all the counties last week except Kilifi.

In his speech, the governor praised the president’s efforts to implement development projects in the region while calling for more cooperation between national and county governments.

In addition to that, Mr Nassir said President Ruto deserves accolades for appointing a number of Coast residents to top government positions.

Among those in reference are Senate Speaker Amason Kingi, Blue Economy and

Mining Cabinet Secretary Salim Mvurya, his Public Service and Gender counterpart Aisha Jumwa, Transport Permanent Secretary Mohamed Daghar, and a host of parastatal heads.

“You have appointed people from the Coast and anyone who cannot be thankful to fellow humans, will not be able to thank God either,” he said.

Using proverbial expressions, the governor warned coastal residents against being divided politically by people with personal motives.

According to him, Coast unity is crucial for the region to gain from the national government.

"The captain at the sea clearly knows that no matter how strong the wave is, what will sink the vessel is not the water outside, but if we allow the water to enter inside. We in the Coast must stick together. I want to assure you, president, we are joined by the hip constitutionally and legally," he said.

Additional reporting by Valentine Obara