Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mayor faces tough battle in poll

Photo/FILE  Ahmed Mohdhar (centre) after he was elected the new mayor of Mombasa in 2009 .

Photo/FILE Ahmed Mohdhar (centre) after he was elected the new mayor of Mombasa in 2009 .  

By NATION CORRESPONDENT

Close to 30 Mombasa councillors have vowed to oust mayor Ahmed Mohdhar in the forthcoming mayoral elections.

Town Hall sources indicate that 28 councillors have decamped from Mr Mohdhar’s camp ahead of the elections, whose date has not yet been set.

Local Government minister Musalia Mudavadi ordered all 147 local authorities to hold mayoral and committee elections by August 15.

The disgruntled councillors are said to have the backing of an influential businessman who has complained about the way the council is managed.

Sources close to the councillors say they are yet to pick a suitable candidate to challenge the mayor.

On Friday, while launching two new garbage collection trucks, the mayor dismissed claims he was facing stiff opposition but any challenger should prepare for a titanic battle.

“I am quite sure of retaining my seat but it will be healthier to have a serious challenger, because that is democracy,” he said.

Separately, Tudor Four councillor Abdulhakim Mohammed also dismissed those opposed to Mr Mohdhar as weak and ineffective.

Weaken opposition

“It is true there is an opposition but we have created ways of weakening it. I have no doubt Mr Mohdhar will retain his seat for three consecutive terms,” said Mr Mohammed.

Some chief officers who spoke on condition of anonymity acknowledged the mayor faced stiff competition.

“He no longer commands respect as before and already some have kept a distance from the parlour and promised to face him in the elections,” said a senior chief officer.

Mr Towfiq Balala, a cousin of Tourism minister Najib Balala was the sole challenger of Mr Mohdhar in his first term at the council.

He lost after many councillors moved to Mr Mohdhar’s camp.

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