MOMBASA, Kenya, Jan 15 – Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho on Tuesday met with his political nemesis Suleiman Shabhal of Jubilee and agreed to work together for the development of Mombasa.
The two leaders agreed to set up technical team to look at their campaign manifestos and merge them for the development of the seaside city.
“We have agreed that we will set a technical team that will look at Shahbal’s manifesto and what are our plans for Mombasa and come up with a concrete plant to develop Mombasa,” said Joho.
Joho said majority of the issues that were in Shahbal’s manifesto are almost similar to the document they had developed in their vision to develop Mombasa.
Joho said one of the main agenda is to look at how best to develop the Dongo Kundu free port and economic zone, which the national government wants to set up south of Mombasa.
“We all agree that the Dongo Kundu port should be Kenyan-owned project. Therefore, we are going to bring on board all the six coastal governors from the Coast to see how best we can develop the project on our own with the help of national government,” said Joho.
Last week, Shahbal penned an opinion article urging President Uhuru Kenyatta not to give out the Sh30 billion Dongo Kundu free port project to Chinese and the Japanese who are fighting for the tenders.
During a press conference at Joho’s office, Shahbal said they are agreement with Joho the project should be implemented by Kenyan government, local banks and private sector.
“We are here today to discuss how we can develop the Dongo Kundu project on our own. This project was first discussed in 1962 and unless we push for it aggressively, the Japanese and the Chinese will take it over. We have the capabilities to do it ourselves,” said Shahbal.
The two leaders, Joho and Shahbal faced-off during the 2013 and 2017 General Election, with Joho emerging winner twice.
After the March 2013 General Election, Shahbal went to court through proxies to challenge Joho’s academic papers, in a case which almost saw Joho losing his political seat.
However, the case was later thrown out by the courts.
In the August 2017 General Election, Shahbal launched yet another tough fight against Joho.
Even though he had the help of President Uhuru Kenyatta, Shahbal could not beat Joho, who had by then become very popular in the region after confronting President Kenyatta head-on.
Joho blasted President Kenyatta of riding on donor-funded projects, a claim which did not go down well with those within the presidency circle.
However, since the March 9, 2018 handshake between President Kenyatta and opposition chief Raila Odinga, Joho is now seen to have buried the hatchet with the President.
Last week Monday, after the commissioning of the SH460 million regeneration of Mama Ngina Waterfront Park, President Kenyatta paid a courtesy call to Joho’s office.
Now, exactly a week after President Kenyatta paid Joho a visit, Shahbal also visited Joho in the company of Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and other Jubilee leaders from the Coast.