hWhen he came back from a pilgrimage in Mecca recently, he returned with a new look.
His usually clean-shaven face is now bearded. For the past week, he has been sporting a well-trimmed, short boxed beard.
And the look has been complemented by traditional Swahili attire, originally from Yemen, and an Omani turban. This is the new look of Mombasa County Governor Hassan Joho.
Popularly known as “Governor 001”, Mr Joho’s sartorial elegance has seen him become the talk of the town — shadowing the usual politics.
A series of his photos has been doing the rounds on social media, gaining him admirers.
Some now place him on top of the charts for the most handsome politician in the country.
Mr Joho made his rare public appearance in his new look after Hajj, when he joined lawyers and the public on Mombasa streets to protest the killing of lawyer Willie Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri.
And during Idd-ul-Fitr and the annual Idd Baraza celebrations, the governor wore the Swahili ensemble, incidentally known as joho, which includes a kanzu, a turban, a dagger tucked under the belt and a sword in tow.
The new-look Joho reminds one of one-time Sultan of Zanzibar Seyyid Bargash, who reigned between 1870 and 1888.
And his latest visit to Mecca on a pilgrimage appears to have redefined him politically, because he is more conciliatory.
During Idd-Ul-Fitr prayers at the Ronald Ngala Primary School grounds, he warmly hugged his friend-turned-bitter critic Senator Hassan Omar and his closest gubernatorial opponent in the 2013 General Election Suleiman Shahbal, calling them “my brothers”.
After prayers, the governor threw his arms around the two politicians and other leaders for a group photo as senior clerics praised them for the solidarity.
“Let us pray for peace and be together as brothers and sisters,” said Mr Joho. He sent a similar message to his critics during Sunday’s Idd Baraza at Treasury Square.
“Ali Hassan Joho!!! Yummy!!!” wrote one Mitchelle Ayoro Osok after Renee Mayaka asked on Facebook who is the hottest governor in the country?
Governor Joho's Instagram page includes comments urging him to maintain his new well-trimmed beard.
“Umependeza na madevu shikilia hapo (You look amazing with that beard, maintain the style),” said an Instagram user.
S_K warui said, “I like this new beard look, Joho 001. Boss look”. Another Facebook user, Sheila Shuruty, said, “That attire, Royal family 2022.”