BY MWAKWAYA RAYMOND
The mission of Wiper Democratic Movement of Kenya to reactivate its mashinani support bases and recruit new members stepped on dynamite in Mombasa County when its leader Kalonzo Musyoka dropped the tosha bombshell.
In a move that caught all and sundry by surprise and shock, Mr Musyoka endorsed Mombasa businessman and 2017 Jubilee gubernatorial aspirant Suleiman Shahbal as Wiper’s candidate for the next general election.
“Huyu ndiye atakayekuwa governor wa Mombasa bila kupingwa (This is the one who will be the next governor of Mombasa without being opposed)”, he introduced the businessmen in utter disbelief of Kisauni MP Ali Mbogo supporters who have for a while fronted him as the governor-in-waiting for the WDM-K party.
Stunned supporters, grumbled but their voices were drowned by the packed members gathered at Wild Waters venue in Nyali Constituency.
Rewind to 2011: Little known Shahbal from United Arab Emirates makes his debut in Mombasa County political scene pronouncing a phenomenon blueprint to turn each of the six constituencies into a satellite town with its own round-the-clock economy.
To elite and academicians, his plan stirred minds with the Port City having the potential to become Dubai or Singapore but to the constituents of Likoni, Mvita, Kisauni, Nyali, Changamwe and Jomvu ‘all was but just talk’.
During the parties’ primaries for the 2013 general election, the businessman left tongues wagging with the way he somersaulted from one party to another before landing WDM-K ticket for the governorship race.
The philanthropist shocked friends and foes when in a matter of a week he hopped from his preferred party, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) to the United Democratic Forum Party (UDFP) before landing on Wiper.
This saw then party aspirant and former Kenya Ports Authority managing director Abdalla Mwaruwa, who had garnered the ticket, showed the door to accommodate Shahbal and forcing him to change house to The National Alliance (TNA)
First Forward to September 28, 2020: Political pundits are ‘un‘comfortable’ with Musyoka’s pronouncement to pick Shahbal as the party’s flagbearer in Mombasa because this might fall under the hammer in the post-BBI political arrangement.
But in his speech to members at Wild Waters the Wiper leader was categorical that the party had a wider mission to capture the gubernatorial seat based on its strategic and vantage point socially, politically and economically.
Mombasa is one of the most endowed counties in Kenya second to Nairobi due to its port that serves the Lake region countries for their imports or exports with tourism as its mainstay.
Musyoka believes that Shahbal is better placed to win the seat this time round as he was just but rigged out in the last general elections (2017) where he says he trounced Joho with a landslide margin.
But the Independent and Electoral Boundaries Commission’s 2017 governors’ results say otherwise from the WDM-K leader’s assertion!
Shahbal performed dismally in the 2017 polls where he scoped a paltry 69,515 votes against Hassan Joho’s 221,177 compared to the 2013 where he garnered 94,905 against Joho’s win of 132,583 votes.
Describing Shahbal as a formidable candidate, Musyoka was quick to quell murmurs by saying: “We need as many people in the party as possible so I do not want to hear anything to do with division as a result of what I have announced.”
But why is the leader abrasive about the businessman? Could it be because of his said ‘deep pockets’?
If the court procceedings are anything to by, then Shahbal’s expenditure of Sh200 million in electroal campaigns indicates that he is a man of not low ways and means to stand his archrival Joho’s Sh500 million counterattack.
In fact, during COVID 19 pandemic crisis in the county, the two leaders’ bromance sparked debate on succession battle in the 2022 general election with the foes-turned-friends displaying their relations openly to the chagrin of governor’s close allies.
In his address, Mbogo, who was visble disturbed, expressed wary of ‘political brokers and moles’ out to wreck the party from within.
“As we welcome our friends, let’s have fair playing ground for all of us because we cannot fully trust these people from other parties,” he said but in a quick rejoinder Shahbal said he was ready for the nomination process within the party.
Earlier, drama ensued when Mbogo’s supporters strategically placed themselves with banners written: ‘No Mbogo, No Wiper’ followed by feverish chants as the party leader made his way to the dias.
LEFT IN A HUFF
After the altercation, angry Mbogo left the venue in a huff while nemesis Shahbal remained out of the picture although his supporters were there to cheer him on.
With these unfolding events, however, the party leader reprimanded those against other new members telling them to shelve their individual interests and join hands with them for the good of the party.
He promised business unusual by throwing a warning shot to ODM saying its leader Raila Odinga should not expect mercy from him.
“I have supported ODM for ten years now and I am not ready to do so anymore,” he said adding that “the journey has started and we are not looking back.”
This came after opening the party’s Mombasa county offices at Gulshan along Jomo Kenyatta Avenue.
He continued: “10 years of helping Raila are enough. This time we are not playing second fiddle to anyone.”
Those in Musyoka’s company were Irene Kasalu (Kitui county), Charles Nguna (Mwingi West), Julius Mawathe (Embakasi South), Patrick Makau (Mavoko), Joshua Kimilu (Kaiti), Bernard (Kitui Central), Danson Mwashako (Wundanyi), and Jessica Mbalu (Kibwezi West) and Gideon Mulyungi (Mwingi Central).
Others were deputy party leader Farah Maalim, secretary general Judith Sijeny, chairman Chirau Mwakwere, deputy chair Shakila Abdalla, Wavinya Ndeti, Kalembe Ndile, Mombasa county coordinator Alex Masha, Taita Taveta deputy governor Majala Mlagui, who is the Young Wiper Democrats chair.
BUILD STRONG TEAM
Saying he was building a strong team that will ensure Kenya is governed by people of integrity, Musyoka announced Kalembe Ndile’s TipTip Party had folded up to join Wiper fraternity.
“We are not taking prisoners. Even if it is scorched earth policy, we are not taking prisoners,” he said adding that the party will form the next government after President Uhuru exits State House.
Under the slogan Kazi Kazi bila Wizi from Wiper All the Way, the party intends to rebrand and engage high-gears of recruitment drives to bolster its grassroots support bases throughout the country.
Also, the party in an unsubstantiated move, declared Kwale County was under its beck and call only because its chair Ali Chirau Mwakwere hails from there.
With WDM-K fielding a candidate for the Msambweni byelection on December 15, 2020; only time will tell whether what the party’s assertion is of the county will come to pass.
Edited by Mwakera Mwajefa