Raila Odinga’s Orange Party has picked Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir to fly its flag for the Mombasa gubernatorial race in the August General Election.
ODM settled on the MP after his main challenger, Mr Suleiman Shahbal, agreed to step down in a deal that was brokered by Mr Odinga.
The deal also includes Senator Mohamed Faki, who will now defend his seat. The details of the deal were announced by Mr Odinga late Friday during a press conference at the party headquarters in Nairobi.
At the media briefing, Mr Odinga was flanked by Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and ODM Director of ElectionsJunet Mohamed among other party officials.
“We had two strong candidates for the (Mombasa) seat but Mr Shahbal has decided to step down and support Mr Nassir,” Mr Odinga announced, hailing Mr Shahbal for the act, which he said, epitomizes his love for the party.
Mr Shahbal will be incorporated into the Raila Odinga Presidential campaign team where he will coordinate the party’s campaign across the country.
While confirming his withdrawal from the race, Mr Shahbal said: “My interest for the job was to bring change and development in Mombasa.”
He assured his supporters he had withdrawn from the race for the good of Mombasa County and urged them to support Mr Nassir who has served as Mvita legislator for the last two terms.
Mr Nassir hailed Mr Shahbal as a worthy opponent, terming his decision as a bold step and assured the people of Mombasa that together they will make Mombasa a county that will be admired across the nation.
“We were opponents but we had a common vision for our county,” he said.
Mr Shahbal first contested the seat in 2013 on UDF and lost to Mr Joho. He tried again in 2017 and lost on the Jubilee ticket.