Intense rivalry to succeed Joho as Mombasa governor
Two Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) aspirants for the Mombasa governorship Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir and businessman Suleiman Shahbal are caught up in a heated war to succeed governor Hassan Ali Joho.
Nassir and Shahbal have for the past two months been going hammer and tongs over each issues touching on use of public resources.
Shahbal unleashed the first salvo challenging Nassir to account for Sh1 billion National Government Constituency Development Fund NG-CDF, Mvita has received for the two terms he has served as the area MP.
While challenging Nassir to a public debate over the mismanagement of NG-CDF, he accused the MP of allegedly redirecting the funds to Istiqama institutions which are his family properties.
“I want to challenge him for a public debate so that he can explain how he has spent the millions of CDF money other than just taking the funds to Istiqama.
I am ready to meet him at Tononoka hall with a moderator of his choice. If he can’t manage millions of cash for a sub-county what do you think he would do if he gets billions of county funds,” said Shahbal.
The businessman-cum-politician said he would not allow Nassir whom he described as a “project” of selfish businessmen and politicians to govern this county claiming he will sink it.
“We cannot allow a remote control to govern this city. We have to protect our county by not allowing people who can be controlled by others to take charge of the county. Mombasa deserves better, not a project,” he said.
Unlike 2013, this time around he is ready to battle for the ODM ticket. He asked his competitor to prepare for what he would do next when he loses the ODM ticket.
“They should prepare because in 2022 we are taking the governorship. Mombasa needs a leader who can create jobs and bring investors, ” he said.
“We all know my friend (Abdulswamad) is a project. He is being used by some businessmen and politicians. We will not allow it. This city must change,” he said.
But on his part Nassir has taken issue with the “project” jibe terming it an insult and warned his rival to brace for political showdown like never before.
“I have no character of cowardice, and I have never lost a political contest. I am ready to be called all manner of things. I am ready to be called a project. If it’s a politician’s project then I am ready to be called Raila Odinga’s project.
While we were defending Raila Odinga you were busy collecting business licenses,” he said urging Governor Joho not to take sides ``even though your office might have taken sides.”
Nassir referred to his competitor as opportunist and greedy, adding that he is shocked that has failed to convince the voters on the ground despite spending the resources, while Nassir on the other hand is making it without splashing money.
“While we were defending Mombasa against impacts of SGR and Naivasha dry port you rushed to say that we were defending governor Joho. Today Joho has awarded you the housing project contract but we did not rush to call you Joho’s project,” Nassir said.
“I am the chair of the Public Investment Committee (PIC) where I monitor state corporations with turnovers of billions of shillings but I have never been guided by greed. Love me or hate me I will be your governor,” said the Mvita MP.
A couple of weeks ago various leaders from Coast and outside the region rallied their support behind Mvita MP, saying through his prowess as the Chair of Public Investment Committee in the national assembly, Nassir has shown his leadership.
The leaders among them local MPs- Mishi Mboko (Likoni), Bady Twalib (Jomvu), Teddy Mwambire (Ganze) as well as Nairobi County MP Esther Passaris, Mohamed Hire (Lagdera), Raphael Wanjala (Budalangi), and Kieni MP Kanini Kega said Nassir is fit to take over from Joho.