Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho on Friday put on a brave face and denied cracks in the opposition at the Coast following President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga’s political deal.
Mr Joho, who has been fighting to consolidate the region’s votes as he plans to have a stab at the presidency in 2022, laughed off claims of having differed with his Kilifi counterpart Amason Kingi.
On Tuesday, Mr Kingi left tongues wagging when he welcomed Deputy President William Ruto in Mombasa and accompanied him on a tour of Tana River and Kilifi counties.
The move signalled an end of a hostile relationship between Mr Kingi and Mr Ruto dating back to 2013.
On Friday Mr Kingi, who has indicated he is keen on forming his own party and vie for the presidency in 2022, refused to comment on politics, saying he will give his stand on the Coast political unity on Monday.
The governor, who was among mourners who attended a burial at Vishakani village, told journalists he will address the changing political tide at the Coast, formerly perceived as an opposition bastion, after meeting Kilifi MCAs.
“I will talk about this issue on Monday. That will be the best opportunity for people to understand my position. However, I have all the time insisted that we must unite as Coast people,” he said.
Speaking when he officially opened Mrima Health Centre in Likoni built following support form Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Mr Joho said Mr Kingi is his “brother and he will remain one”.
“I have heard people talking a lot of stories about Mr Kingi and I, but let me assure you that Kingi is my brother and he will remain one. That is all I am going to say,” he said.
“Let it stay that way, for those who want to talk and entertain themselves let them continue talking…Kingi and I are brothers and we will continue being brothers. That is it,” Mr Joho said.
The county boss was backed by Likoni MP Mishi Mboko who said Mr Kingi knew “it was Mr Joho who was the right leader to represent the coastal people”.
“Everyone knows that it is Mr Joho who has the support of all the counties in this region and I know Mr Kingi knows that as well and he is with us in ensuring we put Mr Joho up there for him to represent us.
"Let us not allow people to divide us. Mr Kingi and Mr Joho are brothers and best friends,” Ms Mboko said.
The MP insisted coast is still an opposition bastion with Mr Joho as its kingpin.
Mr Kingi and Mr Joho are serving their second and last terms as governors and have each declared interest in the presidency in 2022.
After last August’s elections, the two told supporters they will hold talks and resolve who between them should vie for the top seat to avoid splitting the 1.7 million coast votes.
However, the two who used to appear in public most of the times together and spoke with one voice on national issues have been drifting apart since the March 9 handshake.