Promise that Hassan Joho and other Coast leaders will land plum jobs in Raila Odinga’s government if he wins 2022 poll made the Mombasa governor declare that he is ready to shelf his presidential ambition, the Nation can reveal.
Mr Joho, who is serving his second and last term, had expressed interest in occupying State House, and had launched his bid for the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ticket.
The Mombasa county boss had been cleared by Orange House, the party headquarters, to face off with co-deputy party leader Wycliffe Oparanya and Mr Odinga in the yet to be announced party nominations.
But on Saturday, Mr Joho told a meeting of Mr Odinga and Coast leaders that he was ready to back the ODM supremo for the top job, describing him as “a safe pair of hands”.
“I’m ready to shelve my presidential ambition. I do not fear doing that,” he told the meeting to popularize Mr Odinga’s Azimio La Umoja drive at the Wild Waters in Nyali.
“I strongly believe that our only path, as Coastal people, to State House is through Raila Odinga,” he said.
Keen not to call off his bid, he stated that he could still be on the ballot box if ODM finds him suitable.
“ODM’s presidential candidate can either be Raila Odinga or myself,” he told the gathering of some Coast governors, senators, ODM MPs, party-allied politicians and hundreds of delegates from the region.
Yesterday, it emerged that the lofty promises Mr Odinga gave Mr Joho and Coast leaders led to their endorsement, even as the pushed for a pre-election agreement with the ODM leader.
“In the deal, we will clearly state how Coast will benefit and how it will be represented in the next government,” Mr Joho said.
Sources who attended the meeting yesterday told the Nation that Mr Joho, who is currently regarded as the Coast political kingpin, is among leaders that Mr Odinga will consider for top posts in Cabinet, the National Assembly and the Senate.
During the meeting, leaders present pushed for lucrative Cabinet portfolios such as Foreign Affairs and Interior as they lamented over perennial allocation of “cash-strapped” Tourism and Wildlife docket to Coast.
“We are still in talks but plans are in top gear, we want Mr Joho to be offered one of the biggest seats in the country,” Ganze MP Teddy Mwambire told the nation.
“You know apart from president and the deputy we still have the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Senate, we are trying to come with good arrangements to ensure he is part of the decision-makers.”
He said they are pushing for more leaders to be appointed to the national government as they seek solutions to Coast problems.
The region is plagued by land problems, marginalization, extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, terrorism and early pregnancies and marriages.
“We used to have ministers from Taita Taveta, Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi, but we have been subjected in a situation where we have nothing. We want to make sure we are well accommodated in the next government. We are sure Mr Odinga will look into our issues that’s why we are betting on him,” he added.
Kwale Senator Issa Boy asked Mr Odinga to resolve the land issues.
“Please resolve our land injustices it is a thorny issue. But don’t be worried about Kwale, we are solidly behind you. Our deputy party leader Mr Joho has brought Coast leaders together do not forget him, walk with him. In Kwale, Mr Odinga is our presidential candidate,” said Mr Boy.
Mr Joho said he would ensure the region gets more lucrative posts.
“For the first time in our history, this region has one minister and to make it worse its tourism. Why should such a region with millions of voters get one ministry? Do we deserve that? It’s because we were supporters and not partners. But this time around we want to be on the negotiating table,” he said.
“We will benefit from national appointments when Mr Odinga is the president like we did when he was a prime minister. Even to date we have people being appointed because of him. Recently his staff Ms Juliana Cherera was appointed in the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
“We must be ably represented in the government. All Coast leaders will heed to the same direction,” he added.
He said he will begin a massive campaign to ensure Mr Odinga wins the 2022 polls.
Kilifi deputy governor Gideon Saburi assured Mr Odinga of his county’s support.
“In Kilifi we are united, we are with you Mr Odinga. Just like what Mr Joho is saying we want to be on the table,” he said.
Devolution Chief Administrative Secretary Gideon Mungaro insisted on a pre-election pact.
Other leaders who attended the meeting were Omar Mwinyi (Changamwe), Mishi Mboko (Likoni), Badi Twalib (Jomvu), Zulekha Hassan (Nominated woman representative), Asha Hussein (Mombasa woman representative), Ali Wario (MP Garsen) and Ken Chonga (Kilifi South).
Also in attendance were senators Stewart Mwadzayo (Kilifi), Mohamed Faki (Mombasa), Jones Mwaruma (Taita Taveta) and governors Dhado Godhana (Tana River), Granton Samboja (Taita Taveta).