It goes without saying that Ali Hassan Joho the Mombasa governor and the ODM’s deputy party leader is the man of the moment.
He is the only politician in the last four years of the Jubilee administration whose fortunes have risen exponentially. He has ruffled the feathers of those in authority so painfully as to delegitimise the ruling coalition in the Coast and all the regions occupied by the Muslim community. As the emerging coast political kingpin Joho has literally kicked Jubilee out of the Coast, making nonsense President Uhuru and his deputy’s efforts to woo the region to its side through issuance of title deeds. It was Joho who recently forced the President to cut short his trip to the coast at the beginning of the year.The governor took on the President publicly and challenged him to show the so- called development projects the Jubilee administration has launched in the county in the last four years it has in power. Joho has endeared himself to the opposition supporters by losing no opportunity to hit out atJubilee administration, specifically picking out the president and accusing him of taking the people of Coast for a ride. As the ODM deputy party leader, Joho is the vanguard against Jubilee shambolic rule; the fearless commander who will lead Raila Odinga fortunes in the coast as the former Prime Minister makes a forth stab at the presidency in 2017. On this Joho has two major if not critical assignments on whose back Raila’s fortunes is closely dependant. First, it is upon Joho to try as much as he can to cure the perennial claims of voter apathy in the coast region.The coast region is considered as the region with the potential to tilt the outcome of an election, but only if the people there registered and actually came out to vote. This has, however, been undermined by low level of voter registration and then low turn out on the polling days. Having declared war against Jubilee, and Uhuru specifically, Joho has the arduous task of ensuring that challenges of voter apathy are addressed and Coast people come out and take a significant role in the national politics if his Raila projects is to succeed. Being in the cross hairs of Uhuru and the entire Jubilee machinery, Joho knows the stakes are high and he must ensure that voting patterns in the coast change in his favour if Uhuru has to be restricted to a one term president.To achieve this, the governor must take the lead and shore up not just the numbers at the registration centres but the turn out on the polling day. He must ensure the coast residents abandon their care free attitude and actually come to cast their ballots on the polling day. One of the main grouses about the Coasterians political behavior is that they hardly register and worse still even with the low numbers, they never vote. Secondly, as the deputy party leader of ODM, it will upon Joho to ensure that the nominations in the region are credible so as to strengthen and advance the image of the party at this critical point in history when the prospects are looking up for their leader.The party has had a shambolic history in party nominations. The same is likely because with the rise of the Joho, state agencies through the NIS have found a perfect excuse to interfere with the nominations as one way of weakening ODM. With everything looking up for ODM in 2017, and with Joho’s own rising national stature this is important and if poorly handled it could undermine the strides he has made in the recent past. Joho’s rise coincides with the affirmation that ODM is the party to beat in the Coast. This has placed undue pressure to the governor to ensure nominations that stand the test of time as affirmation of his readiness to lead the country after the 2022 elections. History is stark here. In 2013 ODM lost several seats in the Mombasa due to nominations shenanigans. Mombasa’s senate seat, the Jomvu, Nyali all went to Wiper because of bungled nominations in which unpopular candidates were preferred over the popular ones.The first test for Joho comes in the next nominations. He must ensure order and fairness.The true test of nominations in Mombasa will be in Nyali where Joho has to choose between his brother Said Salem aka SAIDO or the voters favourite Mohammed Ali aka JICHO PEVU.