Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho is considering choosing between County Secretary Francis Thoya and a university lecturer William Kingi for his running mate in the August elections.
The vacuum arose after Deputy Governor Hazel Katana quit the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and joined the Jubilee Party on January 28, 2017.
Ms Katana, who was the first deputy governor in the country to defect, is vying for the Mombasa senate seat.
Mr Thoya and Dr Kingi, a lecturer at Technical University of Mombasa, are the leading contenders for to replace Ms Katana.
Reliable sources told the Nation Tuesday that Mr Thoya presented his credentials to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on Monday.
Mr Thoya, a journalist by profession, is considered the right choice for running mate given that he has been among the most hardworking officials in Mr Joho’s government.
The county secretary previously served as the Land executive where he left a legacy for helping the county government address land disputes and squatter problems in Mombasa.
Mr Thoya, who was also Mr Joho’s chief campaigner, has earned a reputation for being a no-nonsense official which made county workers nickname him “Magufuli” in reference to the Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli.
Both Mr Thoya and Dr Kingi come from the dominant Mijikenda community.
MUSLIM CHRISTIAN BALANCE
They are also said to be preferred by the Joho team because they bring a Muslim-Christian balance in the battle for the Mombasa governorship race.
But when the County’s communications director Richard Chacha was reached for comment, he said the governor has not yet decided who his running mate will be.
“Discussions over the running mate position are still ongoing. It has not been decided who will be the running mate at the moment,” he said.
“Once the governor picks his running mate, we shall call a press conference to declare [him] officially,” Mr Chacha told the Nation Tuesday.
Mr Joho will face businessman Suleiman Shahbal who will be flying the Jubilee Party flag, Wiper’s Hassan Omar and VDP’s Hezron Awiti in the governorship race.
Mr Shahbal settled on former MP Ananiah Mwaboza as his running mate while Mr Awiti named Mr Hassan Mwamtoa, a banker, as his number two.