There seem to be no end in sight to the long-running tussle between Jubilee government and Mombasa Governor Joho with his detention on Friday aggravating the situation further.
Governor Hassan Joho has been a fierce critic of Jubilee government, accusing President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto of failing to better the lives of Kenyans.
The latest ‘play’, which may have contributed to Joho’s arrest on Friday, was the governor’s outright attack on President Uhuru during the official opening of the Buxton footbridge in Tudor, Mombasa last week.
Joho accused President Uhuru Kenyatta of riding on projects initiated by the Coalition government of Mwai Kibaki (as President) and ODM leader Raila Odinga (as Prime Minister) to gain popularity.
“This footbridge project was started by the previous government of Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki and was funded by World Bank,” Governor Joho said in a function presided over by President Uhuru and attended by, among others, Tourism CS Najib Balala.
“We want Jubilee to come to Mombasa and start their own new projects and not taking credit for old projects from the past government.”
Less than 48 hours later, Joho’s security detail and that of Kilifi governor Amason Kingi were withdrawn in what government, through State House spokesperson Manoah Esipisu, said was reorganization in the VIP protection programme.
The governor, who is also ODM deputy party leader, reiterated this stand against the Jubilee government at a meeting between Opposition parties at Bomas of Kenya on Wednesday much to the chagrin of Jubilee leaders.
Joho told the government that he did not need their security personnel saying he relies on God and the people for protection.
He further claimed that the movement he had begun, to fight for the rights of Kenyans, will not stop even if he is assassinated.
True to his word, Joho later refused new security detail that was assigned to him by the government.
Just how damaging were Joho’s claims?
Governor Joho’s name was mentioned severally at the Jubilee delegates meeting held on Friday at Kasarani stadium, indicating the gravity of his open criticism on President Uhuru and Jubilee government.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, DP William Ruto, Taveta MP Naomi Shaban were just some of the leaders who hit out at Joho and in extension the Opposition over claims that Jubilee had done nothing for Kenyans in their four years in power.
Ms Shaban specifically called on Joho to respect President Kenyatta and desist from insulting the government.
Joho’s controversial detention
This beef escalated further on Friday evening, after Joho was detained for hours at the Coast Police Provincial Headquarters after they reportedly stormed Urban Police Station to question the arrest of one of his allies.
Inspector General’s PR move to play down the gravity of the situation by claiming that Joho had not been arrested backfired after the Governor, upon his released at around 8pm confirmed the arrest.
He further said that he would not “relent in the fight for justice of our people nor deviate from the cause.”
This is not the first time that Joho is facing a backlash of sort from Jubilee government. In March last year, just days after ODM won the Malindi by-election, Joho’s security detail was withdrawn before being reinstated following protests from the Opposition CORD.
The incident came a month after Joho’s container freight businesses were raided by police and closed in what Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) said was due to evasion of tax. The businesses were however reopened weeks later.
Essence of Joho vs Jubilee fight
Governor Joho was key in drumming up support for ODM leader Raila Odinga in the 2013 elections, and though the later lost in what he has since termed as flawed electoral process, Joho’s push to totally ‘ODMise’ Mombasa and the larger Coast region has not stopped.
In the 2013 elections, 74.9 per cent (612,057) of voters at the Coast region voted for Raila Odinga while 19.3 per cent (158,083) voted for Uhuru Kenyatta. Musalia Mudavadi got 10,564 votes translating to 1.3 per cent while Peter Kenneth had 7,820 votes.
Already Joho and Kingi have kicked off campaigns in their respective counties to encourage residents to register as voters and participate in August elections as they seek to surpass the number of 2013.
Opposition supporters have in this regard linked the recent woes facing the two leaders as a ploy by Jubilee to divert their attention from voter registration exercise which begins on Monday, August 16, 2017.
Political pundits have also linked the happenings to frustration from Jubilee camps which apparently feels that their inroads in the coast region has had little effect in luring voters from CORD.
The most recent battle for supremacy in the region was during last year’s Malindi by-election where ODM’s Wily Mtengo defeated Jubilee’s Philip Charo in a fierce campaign that saw political leaders from both Jubilee and CORD pitch camp in the area for weeks.
Even the defection of some Coast legislators from CORD to Jubilee does not seem to have had a major effect, especially since most of the defectors are not perceived to be influential in their own right.
Some of those who defected from CORD to Jubilee include MPs Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga), Mustafa Idd (Kilifi South), Gideon Mung’aro (Kilifi North), Kwale Women Representative Zainab Chidzuga, Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya.
And as a way of getting back at them Governors Joho and Kingi have vowed to %9