Longtime political enemies Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and Tourism Cabinet secretary Najib Balala have finally buried the hatchet and vowed to work together.
Since the two fell out in 2011, Balala has been at the forefront in discrediting Joho’s work but when the two met yesterday, they shook hands and vowed to support each other in developing the county.
“I now recognise you as my governor,” Balala told Joho as leaders accompanying him burst into laughter and clapped their hands.
Balala praised Joho’s beautification project, adding he will support all initiatives aimed at restoring the glory of the coastal city.
“We have come here first to congratulate you for the beautification project. We have seen infrastructural improvement and that means good for the county,”said Balala and assured the governor that the National government is committed to developing the county.
Their rivalry started when ODM was rebuilding its political base in the region ahead of the 2013 General Election.
Balala, then a member of the ODM pentagon, did not take kindly Joho’s challenge of his position as regional ODM kingpin.
Balala left ODM citing lack of democracy in the party. He formed the Republican Congress Party of Kenya on which he contested the senatorial seat and lost to Cord’s Hassan Omar.
Governor Joho termed yesterday’s meeting as an ‘ice breaker’ and an extension of the Handshake spearheaded by President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga.
“This visit is very important to us because we have discussed critical issues among them county development projects. So we are here basically to extend the Handshake, spirit ,” said Joho adding that since the Handshake of march 9, he is able to enjoy his position as a governor.
Joho has been at loggerheads with Jubilee leaders for criticising Jubilee government.
“We have shifted from talking at each other to speaking with one another so there is no reason for us not to work together for the betterment of this country and Mombasa, county in particular,” said Joho.
Balala was accompanied by Environment CS Keriako Tobiko who also pledged to work together with Joho to end the garbage menace in the coastal city.