Reuben Mwambingu @reubenmwambingu
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho has told critics of his 2022 presidential ambitions to brace for a “shocker of the century”.
He said his State House dream is still valid, adding that he would stop at nothing to achieve it, despite the seemingly shifting political tide in the coastal region.
Joho declared he is ready to face any political heavyweight in the fight for the country’s top seat, adding that he would roll out a massive campaign at the right time.
“It is people on the ground who have the votes and they will decide who becomes the next president, not political leaders. We need to listen to the voice of the people,” he said.
Speaking in Mombasa during an interview at Mediamax Network Limited’s Pili Pili FM, Joho dismissed remarks by Nasa leader Raila Odinga’s cronies James Orengo and Oburu Oginga that the Nasa leader will get a direct presidential nomination in 2022.
“I am the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) deputy party leader and I can tell you democracy is deeply entrenched in the party. Raila has never told me to kill my ambitions.
We will negotiate the process when we get there. It will not be the first time to have several candidates for the same post in ODM. We will try negotiated democracy and if it fails we will try something else. All I know is that we will hold together,” he said.
At the same time, Joho has directed officials in the Lands and Planning department not to approve development plans for any public land suspected to have been grabbed in the county.
He said he will not allow land grabbers to thrive under his regime calling on those who have encroached on Judiciary land at the Mombasa Law Courts and the children court in Tononoka to surrender the land.
“As long as I am Mombasa governor, rest assured that there will be no approval for grabbed properties. Those who hold tittle deeds to such properties should prepare to return the land,” he said.
The governor was responding to questions from the radio station’s audience on how he would stop grabbing of county public land, which includes that of Mombasa State House.
Four months ago, National Land Commission chairman Muhammad Swazuri revealed that the historic Tononoka grounds, Tononoka Children’s Court and a police post are among key public properties in the area, which have been irregularly acquired by private developers.
He said the land stretching from the main road in Buxton area to Tononoka grounds, which was originally government land, has now been occupied by private individuals yet the commission cannot trace how government released the about 20 acres of land.
According to Joho, some land grabbers have even encroached fishing grounds, thereby, denying residents an opportunity to fish and earn a living.
“As a county, we are keen to empower fishermen but we have realised that some grabbers have encroached on the shores and I have visited the grounds and cautioned those behind the grabbing to return the land before things backfire on them. If you have grabbed any fishing shore, you are certainly not lucky,”he said.