19 March 2017

Kenya: Joho Reveals Why He Fell Out With President Kenyatta

Photo: The Nation
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho (centre) with his Kilifi counterpart Amason Kingi (right) and other leaders address their supporters at Garsen Primary School Grounds in Tana River on March 19, 2017, where they asked residents to kick out the Jubilee government in the August General Election. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho fell out with President Uhuru Kenyatta over the way Waitiki Farm squatters were treated by the national government, the Coast politician claimed on Sunday.

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) deputy party leader -- who is leading a six-county pummelling of Jubilee after a nasty encounter with the national government in which he was confined to his office to keep him away from a presidential function -- was speaking in Tana River.

Mr Joho said he and the Head of State differed after he questioned why the squatters were being asked to pay for their title deeds after the government paid off Mr Evanson Kamau Waitiki and divided the land among the locals.

"The President was categorical the squatters had to pay because Coast residents did not vote for him," Mr Joho said of the allocation of more than 900 acres to squatters, ending a decades-long dispute.

Mr Joho said he would only respect the President if the President showed him respect.

On President Kenyatta's directive that he should stop following him around, Mr Joho told a rally in Garsen that the Head of State was not a woman to be followed."I am not a street urchin ... I was elected by the people of Mombasa ... I will not stop raising issues affecting locals," said Mr Joho and added: "I cannot keep on following a fellow man. Where should I go? There are people here whom I could follow."

SENT PACKING

And in an apparent reference to the President, he added: "If you respect me I will respect you."

Mr Joho then led the crowd in shouting that President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto should be sent packing in the August 8 General Election.

He added that he was opposed to changing Vision 2030 plans to shift the building of a dry port in Voi to Naivasha in the Rift Valley.

"The President wants to make locals poorer as the relocation of the port will deny local youths jobs," said the governor. "I have no apologies over my stand. Those who want to burst can burst."

President Kenyatta, Mr Joho added, was also launching projects initiated by the Grand Coalition government of President Mwai Kibaki and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

The Jubilee administration, according to the ODM leader, had failed to fulfil its promises to Coast residents on water and land and locals had not benefited from jobs at the Lamu port.

LAUNCH PROJECTS

Leaders of the ruling team, President Kenyatta and his deputy Mr Ruto, Mr Joho said, were rushing to launch projects at the Coast whose funds were not in the budget four months to the election, in order to gain political mileage.

The governor led a team of ODM leaders in campaigning for Mr Odinga in Lamu County on Saturday before moving to Hola and Garsen in Tana River.

In the entourage were Governors Amason Kingi (Kilifi) and John Mruttu (Taita-Taveta), Senators Stewart Madzayo (Kilifi) and Dr Agnes Zani (nominated), as well as MPs Badi Twalib (Jomvu), Rashid Bedzimba (Kisauni), Thomas Mwadeghu (Wundanyi) and Mombasa Woman Representative Mishi Mboko. Lamu Woman Rep Shakila Abdallah, who was elected on a Wiper Democratic Party ticket, joined the group in Mkunguni.

Mr Joho said he would vie for the presidency in 2022 despite President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto saying they will rule beyond 2022.Removed from power

He said the Jubilee administration should be removed from power in August and Mr Odinga elected president.

Mr Kingi argued that Mr Odinga would protect devolution, develop all parts of the country and share the national cake equally.

Mr Joho said the Jubilee administration should account for the Sh6.7 trillion national government budget in the past four years.

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