BY MWAKERA MWAJEFA
The issuance of certificate to Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho after almost four days of waiting puts to rest the growing anxiety among his supporters and gives him another term to run county affairs.
On Saturday, the Mombasa County IEBC returning officer Nancy Kariuki announced the governor as the winner with 221,177 votes after postponing the same more than three since the Tuesday voting exercise.
The confirmation of his winner puts the political careers of his four challengers Suleiman Shahbal (Jubilee), Hassan Omar (Wiper), Hezron Awiti (VDP) and Daniel Kitsao (Kadu-Asili) into an abyss.
For Shahbal, this was his second chance to face-off with the governor but his dismal performance by scooping only 69,515 votes compared to his 2013 performance where he garnered 94,905 against Joho’s 132,583 votes.
Chiding those who poked fun at his academic qualification while receiving his certificate, Mr Joho said those who called him ‘D-‘had failed miserably to unseat him in the just concluded general election.
“I am the governor and have forgiven them. If they have any agenda they would like to share with me. I am ready to listen and incorporate their agendas to my own,” he added.
Apart from Mr Shahbal’s poor show, one touted to be Joho’s challenger and matchmaker Wiper secretary-general Hassan Omar only got 43,787 votes to emerge a distant third while Vibrant Democratic Party leader Hezron Awiti garnered a paltry 4,709 and Kadu-Asili candidate Daniel Kitsao had 1,670.
According to political pundits the disappointing performance of Joho’s opponents could be attributed to their failure to understand the dynamics of local-to-national politics and voting patterns of the six constituencies.
“Each of the six Mombasa County constituencies has its own unique demographical voting pattern order that a politician must understand to tick. Joho understands that and that is why he ran supreme in the six subcounties,” says an insider who pleaded for anonymity.
The governor’s insider adds that they were ‘happy’ to play the ‘victim’ against the Jubilee leadership with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s altercation propelling Joho to nationally stardom recognition.
But with the re-election of President Kenyatta to office some political observers and coastal analysts warn that the governor will have to change tact to ‘survive’ the grueling five year term bestowed on him.
“He has ambitions to run for presidency in 2022 but that will be a different ballgame that requires national appeal in every corner of the republic and not designated home turfs or political party boundaries,” says Philip Mbaji from his Technical University of Mombasa desk.
In his view, the pact reached between Nasa leader Raila Odinga and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka might be an impingement and complicate Joho’s quest for presidency using ODM ticket.
“Joho is in a catch-22 situation when it comes to 2022 presidential race because of what has just happened in this election where his party boss has lost the position rendering him (Odinga) irrelevant,” he says adding that keeping Nasa and ODM floating to 2022 will be a herculean task.
And for the losers of the gubernatorial race, according to Mr Mbaji, their political futures hang by the thread with their only ‘hopes’ resting on the goodwill of their political leadership.
“Relying on untested, inexperienced and amateurish aides was the undoing of Shahbal, Omar, Awiti and Kitsao against the flamboyant governor who throughout the campaign period played pyramidal politics,” says Mbaji.
This pyramidal politics’ outcome can be seen on how the ODM party without opposition from affiliates parties within Nasa managed to pulled a surprise by winning most of the parliamentary and members of county assembly seats.
From Mvita Abdullswamad Nassir retained his seat, Omar Mwinyi took back his Changamwe seat, Mishi Mboko grabbed Likoni and Bady Twalib regained his Jomvu position.
With a few madoadoa here and there the majority of MCAs in the county are from ODM party against what was expected to be a tight race between the two leading Nasa affiliates – ODM versus Wiper