Opposition leader Raila Odinga is cobbling up a 2022 coalition arrangement with Jubilee Party’s wing led by Uhuru Kenyatta that will see him pick Mombasa governor Hassan Joho as his running mate, we have reliably established. In the plan that will trigger political vibrations across the country, the premier’s position and that of the two deputies will go to ODM’s partner in the coalition, Jubilee Party. The plan, insiders added, has received the backing of the president whose wing will present the nominees for premier and deputies in the next government. With Gideon Moi’s KANU, Wiper led by Kalonzo Musyoka and Chama Cha Mashinani of Isaac Ruto having signed a political deal with Jubilee’s Uhuru faction, they will benefit from the president’s side in the power share.
Aware of the power deal that is likely to lock him out in Jubilee, deputy president’s faction has decided to operate under a splinter Jubilee Asili to take care of the followers after former CS Rashid Echesa remarks that as a general, Ruto had abandoned his soldiers in the battlefield. Weekly Citizen has established that the idea to operate under Jubilee Asili is legal, since had they decided to have a new party, they would have been expelled from Jubilee, with Ruto and his allies losing current seats. By last week, we have information that pro-Uhuru strategists were in deep consultation to see if any loopholes exist in the constitution to expel pro-Ruto men from Jubilee leading to by-elections. The plan is part of the post-Uhuru coalition that is being crafted by ODM and Jubilee, where the Orange party will take the presidency and the ruling coalition the premier’s posts.
Insiders intimated to us that Raila has assured his close allies that he will go for the presidency and this time, he is banking on the deep state’s backing to claim victory. The plan is meant to shield the coalition from fallout by ensuring the president and his deputy speak in one voice, and the same case applies to the premier and his deputies. Currently, the president and his deputy are at loggerheads, pulling from different political centres in Jubilee, a situation that has forced Uhuru to entice Raila, and other opposition figures so as to cut to size his second-in-command. Insiders added that the post-Uhuru coalition being crafted is tied to the successful passage of the Building Bridges Initiative report that will expand the executive by creating the premier and deputy premier’s positions. They added that Joho fits in the bill as running mate since Raila is keen to have an individual who comes from ODM, and more so, a man who will not go against him or oppose his agenda if he wins the presidency.
The idea to pick Joho, who is also ODM deputy party leader, alongside Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya, is informed by his loyalty and steadfast support for Raila and the party. Joho, who was born in 1976, is also young and his candidature, according to Raila, will resonate well with the youth who comprise almost 60pc of voters. Joho is young compared to Oparanya, and will be used to rebrand Raila among the powerful youth vote bloc. Joho’s popularity with the youth is evidenced by his tweeter where he has over 1 million followers. Besides, his good looks attract women, and it is Raila’s hope that the governor’s admirers will vote for the coalition. The ODM leader also believes that his pairing with Joho will see the about 1 million Muslim voters rally behind the coalition as he will be the first presidential candidate in Kenya to pick a member of the faith for such a high profile office.
Joho is also filthy rich, besides having a solid network of moneyed Arabs, and other business moguls in Mombasa and outside. Insiders added that the ODM leader has communicated to Joho his desire to have him as his running mate, and that explains why the Mombasa county chief, has been putting his house in order for the last couple of months. Close observers will have noticed that Joho has been putting in place his succession matrix as the county boss by mending fences with his foes as he seeks to be the coastal political kingpin. To this end, he recently buried the hatchet with businessman-cum politician Suleiman Shahbal who is out to take over the reins as Mombasa governor once Joho’s term comes to an end in 2022. The recent visit by Shabhal and Gideon Mungaro, the Lands chief administrative secretary who lost to Amason Kingi in Kilifi county race in 2017, is part of consolidating Joho power in coast as he will be busy campaigning with Raila nationally with members of the to-be revived pentagon.
Already, Taita Taveta governor Granton Samboja is in the gameplan, and was among the first governors to support the handshake deal, and has been hosted by Raila at his private office his Capitol Hill office. Samboja also gets on well with Uhuru. Shahbal contested the Mombasa gubernatorial seat on Jubilee ticket in the last general election but lost to Joho. He has been a close ally of William Ruto but has since switched his allegiance to Uhuru/Raila political axis courtesy of Joho. Recently, Shahbal presented a food donation from Raila which was received by Joho in his capacity as Mombasa county chief, and ODM deputy party leader, further signifying his closeness to the two leaders. Apart from Shahbal, the other leaders present at the function included deputy governor William Kingi, and Mombasa assembly speaker Aharub Khatri, but interestingly, Joho was reluctant to have his photos taken with Kingi and Khatri preferring to have one with Shahbal, formerly his perennial rival.
As part of Joho’s succession, Raila has also hosted Shahbal twice in his house in Mombasa since August last year as he prepares him for the governor’s seat. For now, Joho and Shahbal have been working together on mitigation measures against the coronavirus bug, which the businessman has been instrumental, which has changed the political equation in Mombasa. Others eyeing Mombasa governor’s seat are MPs Abdulswamad Nassir (Mvita), Ali Mbogo (Kisauni), Mishi Mboko (Likoni), former county secretary and journalist Francis Thoya, and former senator Hassan Omar, eyeing to succeed him. Raila’s calculations, he noted, are meant to scuttle deputy president’s chances of winning the about 2 million votes in Coast region. Ruto has already courted former Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar, who is one of his political advisers and it is believed he will support him for the Mombasa governor’s seat against Shahbal.
In Kilifi, Ruto has MP Aisha Jumwa. Nyali MP Mohammed Ali is also in Ruto camp. Sources say Joho has been scheming for a higher office since the March 9, 2018, handshake between Uhuru and Raila that saw him start warming up to the president by dropping his hardline stance against the government. At one time, the president and Joho had lunch at the much famed Barka Restaurant, a Swahili eatery in the CBD, Mombasa, which was a sign of changing political realignments. The Joho family has been allocated an inland clearing depot at Embakasi, Nairobi, located to a land leased from Kenya Railways a parastatal body. Word has it that to further win the youth vote, Raila is slowly bringing on his side Nairobi governor Mike Sonko. Uhuru and Sonko were together at a recent tree-planting ceremony in Nairobi.
It is emerging that Uhuru has been briefed of Internal Security PS Karanja Kibicho’s involvement in politics first with Sonko, and then embattled Kirinyaga governor, Anne Waiguru, hence Kibicho’s current tribulations in the corridors of power. Kibicho is likely to be replaced in an impending cabinet shuffle. Joho also welcomed Uhuru during the official opening of the MiritiniMwache-Kipevu road. Insiders added that the governor is now preparing himself to be the coastal kingpin and this is the reason he mended fences with Tourism Cabinet secretary Najib Balala. In the past, Joho and Balala barely saw eye-to-eye though both hail from the minority Arab community.
Insiders added that Raila wants to capitalize on Joho’s rising star nationally that was boosted by his handling of the deadly coronavirus pandemic to clinch the presidency. The Mombasa governor formed the Mombasa county Emergency Response Committee on Covid-19 which has been successful in minimizing infections and has become the reference point for other county chiefs to emulate. Joho’s ambition to deputize Raila first came to the public limelight after the mock swearing-in of the ODM leader when youths in Mombasa demanded the governor be sworn in as deputy after Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka gave the skit ceremony a wide berth. The youths took to Mombasa streets threatening to swear in the governor as the ODM leader’s deputy.
They carried placards as they praised Joho, while criticizing NASA co-principal Kalonzo for failing to show up during Raila’s swearing-in at Uhuru Park that Kalonzo later said was nonsensical. The governor had stolen the limelight when he accompanied Raila to Uhuru Park for the ridiculous ‘swearing-in’ administered by the self-proclaimed National Resistance Movement general Miguna Miguna. In the past, Joho had expressed his 2022 presidential ambition which was boosted by endorsements by several MPs in the coastal region. The Coast region has about 1.7 million votes and has always voted for the opposition. Those who endorsed him for the top seat included Ken Chonga (Kilifi South), Mishi Mboko (Likoni), Zulekha Hassan (Kwale Woman Representative), Omar Mwinyi (Changamwe), and Teddy Mwambire (Ganze).