Shahbal and Nassir brace for epic battle in contest to succeed Joho
Businessman Suleiman Shahbal’s entry into the race to succeed Governor Hassan Joho is likely to result in a bruising battle between him and Mvita MP Abdulswamand Nassir, who is also in the race.
Shahbal’s return to Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement has also triggered debate on the party’s influence in the region where it has been dominant for years.
Shahbal, who was Jubilee Party candidate for the governor’s position in 2017, said he was “coming back home” and will use the Orange Party to contest next year.
But according to his 2017 running mate Anania Mwaboza, Shahbal should brace for a hard tackle from Abdulswamand with whom he will fight for the ODM ticket.
Mwaboza also thinks Shabal’s choice of party may be ill-advised.
“The ground is shifting. If I were to advise him, I would tell him to go as an independent candidate because it appears people are looking at individual candidates, not political parties,” said Mwaboza.
According to Pwani University lecturer Prof Hassan Mwakimako, with the clamour for a Coast-based party and with the ground gradually shifting towards emerging political formations, the ODM party leadership needs to work harder to retain its influence in the region.
“The ground is gravitating towards new realignments,” said Mwakimako. The Mombasa contest is likely to be a major test for Raila as both Shahbal and Abdulswamand are his allies with Joho also expected to exert his influence.
At least five aspirants are lined up to succeed Joho who is winding up his second term in office.
In the 2017 elections Joho emerged victorious with 221,177 votes while Shahbal garnered 69,515 votes. Former Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar received 43,787 votes.