Meeting to discuss Wiper's Mombasa top seat flag-bearer flounders

Sunday March 19 2017

Nyali MP Hezron Awiti addresses journalists

Nyali MP Hezron Awiti addresses journalists at Maweni Secondary School, Mombasa County, on March 14, 2017. He has said he will not be anyone's running mate in the Mombasa governorship race. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By GITONGA MARETE
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Wiper Democratic Movement has abandoned a planned nomination exercise that would have seen delegates decide the party’s governor flag-bearer for

Mombasa County.

The delegates’ conference was supposed to be held at Wild Waters Entertainment Park in Mombasa on Saturday but was called off at the eleventh hour.

The forum would have brought together 600 delegates from the six sub-counties to decide who between Nyali MP Hezron Awiti and Senator Hassan Omar would be the last man standing.

Senator Omar, also the secretary-general, said the proposed method of selecting the candidate for the top seat was not appropriate.

“The problem of having 600 people is that there is no criteria for choosing them. How do you select the delegates from the 50,000 members? We carried out a registration drive and these members should be allowed to exercise their constitutional rights and choose their preferred candidate,” he said in a telephone interview.

There has been rivalry between Mr Awiti and Mr Omar, who have both declared their interest for one of the most coveted position.

Efforts to reconcile them and convince either to be a running mate have failed, with speculations that Mr Awiti might decamp to either Kadu Asili or Charity Ngilu’s Narc running about.

Mr Awiti, the treasurer, has however denied the hear-says, maintaining he would not leave a party he had invested in.

“I cannot leave my house and go looking for another one. I am ready for nominations and Omar should come we square it out whether through delegates or members,” he said.

Mr Awiti said he has asked the Mijikenda community to give him a running mate, to whom he will back for the seat in 2022.

“I have entered into an agreement with members of the community and besides being a one-term governor if I win, we have also agreed that the composition of my government will be on a 50/50 basis.”

According to political analysts, should both run, it will be a walk in the park for Governor Hassan Joho, the ODM deputy party leader, who has dismissed the two as non-starters.

Yesterday, sources however said the party was mulling over convincing Mr Omar to defend his seat at the Senate and let Mr Awiti face the incumbent.

But the Senator dismissed the speculations, saying he was in the race.

“I believe that of all those who want to be governor I am the most qualified and distinctive choice for the people of Mombasa,” he told Nation.