NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 9 – It was no-holds-barred on Saturday as Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho and Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko publicly exchanged words over a telling off the Governor gave President Uhuru Kenyatta over his failure to include him in his itinerary.
The Governor who pointed a finger at President Kenyatta spoke at a title deed handover ceremony in Likoni for the Waitiki land squatters.
He accused President Kenyatta of excluding him during his stay in Mombasa and mentioned in particular his visit to the Kenya Ferry Services Headquarters.
“It’s not fair,” he said. “Because I have no problem working with the national government in the interest of my people.”
He also said his County government would not be waiving over Sh300 million in land rates owed on the 930-acre parcel of land. Joho said his government would only do so should President Kenyatta waive the payments due to the Settlement Fund by the squatters.
Remarks that were not taken kindly by Sonko who despite Joho’s refusal, managed to get his time at the microphone. He said Joho’s exclusion should not come as a shock given his allegiance to the opposition whom he accused of using corruption to, “blackmail,” the ruling coalition. “Bad behaviour!” he called it.
He went as far as branding the Governor a land grabber and went out of his way to paint Joho as a hypocrite who, unlike President Kenyatta, was not genuinly interested in helping the squatters.
President Kenyatta’s disapproval of Joho’s conduct was evident when the Governor objectified nominated Senator Naisula Lesuuda as he called her to the microphone.
When the President himself rose to give his address, he made it clear that he was not happy with Joho’s, “politicisation,” of the Waitiki land issue. He said the Governor had the option of settling with the settlement fund on behalf of the squatters.
He also made it clear that his ascension to office was not helped by the coastal vote and that Joho at the end of the day was the opposition.
President Kenyatta’s displeasure was evident at the end of the ceremony when he appeared to walk away from Joho in a huff.