Epic battle for Mombasa gubernatorial post after VDP party leader Awiti Bollo joins race
The race to succeed Mombasa governor Hassan Joho’s has heightened after Vibrant Democratic Party (VDP) leader Awiti Bollo declared that he will for a second time vie for the top seat.
Bollo joins Hassan Omar of United Democratic Alliance (UDA) businessman Suleiman Shahbal of ODM, Kisauni Mp Ali Mbogo of Wiper Democratic Movement and Mvita Mp Abdulswamand Nassir of ODM in the race.
The former Nyali Mp said his plan to vie for the gubernatorial seat is because of the deteriorating economy of Mombasa, which suffered as a result of the government imposing mandatory cargo haulage through the standard Gauge Railway.
"We must ask our president to rescind the decision to transport all cargo through the standard Gauge Railway, (SGR). This has caused a lot of pain to the business community and the current governor has failed to champion the economic rights of the coastal people,” Bollo said.
The 2017 gubernatorial contestants, who unsuccessfully contested against governor Joho, now accuse Joho of failing to defend the economic rights of the Mombasa business community, who have continued to suffer due to very punitive policies imposed by the national government.
"We are embarking on a meet the people campaign so that the people can listen and give us their demands, we are ready to lead this country because we don't want it to be left to the wrong hands after governor Joho exits," Bolo added.
Speaking during a meeting with the Mombasa business community held at the Wild Waters resort, Bollo said he has what it takes to become Mombasa governor, and asked residents to vote in leaders who prioritize reviving the economy of Mombasa County.
Bolo strongly opposed the idea of hand-picking political candidates to lead the Mombasa county government, asking Joho to distance himself from the Mombasa succession politics. Bollo says Joho should not hide his failures behind his suitable candidate.
"Everybody knows Joho has failed to agitate for the rights of Mombasa people, we don't want to go in the same direction, let's observe keenly and elect leaders who will revive the economy of Mombasa and will prioritise the challenges of Mombasa people," Bollo added.
Governor Joho has been caught in between a rock and hard place in the succession of Mombasa, as all his close allies are in the race for the post.
Joho has donated his campaign team to Shahbal while Nassir, a close ally of Joho and party loyalist, wants an endorsement from Odinga.
Awiti, a Belgian-trained logistics manager, has been in the freight and forwarding industry for over 25 years. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Habo Group of Companies, which he founded back in 1995 in Mombasa.
The Mombasa business community led by former Mombasa speaker Thadius Rajwayi resolved to work with the Azimio la Umoja championed by ODM party leader Raila Odinga.
"Mombasa has decided it will support Raila Odinga, therefore, we Mombasa people want to stay united and ensure we vote unanimously for a presidential candidate who has people's interest at heart," Rajwayi said.
The group also resolved to table a blueprint for every Mombasa gubernatorial contestant so that they can have their challenges addressed once the leaders are elected.
The group had invited gubernatorial contestants to explain their agenda to the business community in Mombasa, especially on taxes imposed on the traders and the creation of a good business environment
One of the issues they complained about is over-taxation by the Mombasa county government. They backed Raila presidential bid as well as Awiti Bollo gubernatorial bid.