Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho has been dealt a blow in his bid for the presidency after some of his Coast allies on Tuesday declared support for Deputy President William Ruto.
The MPs, led by the Coast Parliamentary Group chairman Suleiman Dori, said it was “unrealistic” to think that a Coast leader could take the top seat.
Mr Dori also took issue with his party leader Raila Odinga, saying “he should not mislead people that the next president will be a Muslim from Coast”.
“We do not want to hear those stories here, go back to your backyard and announce that; then we will know your real intention,” he said.
He was referring to Mr Odinga’s remarks last week when he said his push for constitutional reforms was to ensure any Kenyan, including Governor Hassan Joho, can vie for president.
LEAD THE COUNTRY
Mr Odinga was speaking during an Iftar dinner organised by Mr Joho at Serani grounds in Mombasa.
The Mombasa governor has on several occasions said he will be the “first Muslim from Coast” to lead the country.
Mr Dori, however, said the 1.7 million votes in Coast region were not enough to make Mr Joho president.
“No one can become president without cooperating with others from other regions and that is what we need to hear. This time round we want to be in government and we will work with a leader who wants to bring us development and that is none other than the DP,” said Mr Dori during an event to mark World Environment Day at Baraza Park in Kwale.
Mr Ruto, who was at the event, promised to take more development projects to the region.
“We have also set aside Sh470 million that will cater for 19,000 people under the cash transfer programme. The Mwache dam, which is being put up at a cost of Sh30 billion, will hopefully be opened this September,” he said.
Jomvu MP Badi Twalib, who has been one of Mr Joho’s allies in Coast, promised to support Mr Ruto.
“I heard you being described the other day as a leader who has been wandering around. I want to tell you to continue with the tours in the alleys as it is there that you will bring development. We have seen your capability and we will support you,” said Mr Twalib.
Kinango MP Benjamin Tayari, who was also elected on an ODM ticket, said they will support the DP to ensure the Jubilee government continues spearheading its development agenda. “We have seen the projects that the government has brought to us and that is what we want to see going forward. We will support you but we insist that you continue with the spirit,” he said.