By Jackson Omondi
With too much talk about “kujipanga” for 2022, most Kenyans have been forced to endure the torture of listening to one politician’s vaunted game plan for 2022. One would be forgiven if they thought that come 2022, only one candidate will be on the ballot.
However, the other side of the divide, CORD, sports one of the most gifted politicians in the country who has made it clear that come 2022, he will be on the presidential ballot paper.
Mombasa Governor and ODM’s number two Ali Hassan Joho, is a gifted politician who has cut a niche for himself in Kenyan political theatre as one of the best performing Governors in the nation. Having inherited a County bedevilled with record debt, the Governor slowly but surely pulled the county from near economic abyss to prosperity.
Among his peers, his development blueprint is routinely copied as a template for other counties and he proudly hoists the county’s flag as a symbol of economic prosperity. His hardwork, of course, made him an easy target for profiling and discrimination by status quo agents of state who are out to cut him down to size. And why not?
For a man whose political star shines in total darkness, it didn’t take long for status quo agitators to figure out that he is destined for political greatness that includes the presidency!
But can he? In the parlance of Barack Obama, YES HE CAN! And here is why.
For starters, I will borrow the timeless words of Charlie Arlinghaus, who once said that leadership is felt, when people see it, they actually feel it and it can’t be acquired, you have to be born with it.
It is clear that Governor Joho is a consummate leader, he started off as an assistant minister and when the people of Mombasa saw and experienced his leadership as an MP, they had no problems promoting him to the Governor’s office.
As Governor of Mombasa, in just four years, his record is now a gubernatorial case study on how to govern!
As GOVERNOR, he brought together all coastal counties under the umbrella of Jumuiya ya pwani, an outfit that essentially puts all coastal counties in his electoral basket. Talk about regional consolidation!
But that is not all. Being a staunch and loyal lieutenant of THE ENIGMA, his party had no qualms appointing him deputy party leader. A position that effectively made him the enigma ‘s heir apparent.
This, essentially means that Joho automatically inherits RAO’ s constituency, national network and support.
Being the enigma’s number two and having the chops , charisma and the resources to keep it intact is key for Joho. Will the party faithful agree with his ambitions? Well, he made it clear that he will be making his play in 2022 and nobody coughed.
Expect the Governor to leverage on his record as a two-term Governor of Mombasa who left a surplus, enviable infrastructure, booming economy, stellar healthcare facilities and good roads to make the case for a presidential stab.
The Governor’s handlers will go into the elections with a base that only two politicians have enjoyed: Kibaki in 2002 and Raila in 2007 and 2013. The Governor will be the third politician to ever go into an election with the dreaded RAO coalition.
The 2013 general elections and the Malindi by-elections gave the establishment a little flavor of how the Governor approaches elections. In 2013, his Mombasa county assembly was an all Orange affair and in Malindi, he gave the establishment a stiff arm in the face of serious state intimidation and unnecessary armtwisting.
The Governor proved that he can win in whatever circumstances the political fraudsters throw at him. Those who say that the country is not ready or cannot vote for a Muslim to become President are living in the stone age era. Tell that to those Christian Mombasa residents who can now access better healthcare facilities or those who can now enjoy decent housing thanks to the Governor’s efforts.
Better yet, tell that to ODM’ s rank and file who are comfortably led by Muslims like Joho or Farah Maalim or President Kenyatta’s most trusted legal mind Mr Abdikadir Mohammed, a former MP who now works in the presidency! I can go on and on but you get the point. Come 2022, Governor 001 might just end up being Kenya’s number 001