Shahbal prepares for another gubernatorial stab

Wednesday, June 17th, 2020 00:00 |
ODM leader Raila Odinga (left) with politician Suleiman Shahbal (right) in Mombasa County, in March. Photo/PD/FILE

After mending fences with Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and having a series of meetings with the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga, businessman Suleiman Shahbal says he is still in the race to succeed Joho.

Shahbal, who was the Jubilee Party county point man in 2017 polls, revealed his meetings with Odinga last week was in the “spirit of handshake and for the interest of Mombasa people both politically and economically.”

“I am in Jubilee and there is a Handshake that has made us friends, so when I go to see the former Prime Minister we are discussing development, we are discussing some of the problems of our people,” he added, saying that there was a need for  leaders to consult on issues.

The politician who has lost twice against incumbent Joho however dismissed claims of decamping to ODM.

However, in what looks strange, Joho’s press team has occasionally been seen attending Shahbal functions sending signals of a possible succession plan.

This was evident during an event where governor Joho’s political advisor Idris Abdurahman was seen directing Shahbal’s press conference.

“For sure I am in the race, with the support of the people I will contest, but for now let’s not put Mombasa into a campaign mood, let’s first focus on development,” said Shahbal.

While addressing a media briefing in Mombasa, Shahbal said his mission is to see governor Joho deliver development for the people before he succeeds him.

“When the time comes, we will do a Tsunami campaign but now we are assisting governor Joho in delivering development to his people. Let people stop getting excited about 2022 politics,” he added.

ODM rebels from the Coast region began trooping back to the party in the wake of the handshake, political realignments, and Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

Land CAS Gideon Mung’aro who was the Coast region Jubilee Party point man in the 2017 general election together with Shabhal met Odinga last week.

Mung’aro also vied for the gubernatorial seat in Kilifi in 2017 but lost to governor Amason Kingi.

Mung’aro, a former ODM minority chief whip said their visit was mainly to consult Odinga on various developments issues. He said his reunion with Odinga has been necessitated by the Handshake.

‘’If he is working with my boss, who am I not to work with him,’’ he said.

Mung’aro when asked about his interest in becoming the governor of Kilifi said he can vie for any position.

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