The National Super Alliance and the Jubilee Party will hold parallel rallies in Mombasa on Sunday, setting the stage for a possible stand-off.
This is the second time the two political outfits will hold parallel rallies in Mombasa as they fight for more than two million votes at the Coast.
The region has long been perceived as an opposition stronghold, but Jubilee is striving to wrest it. In January, ODM deputy leader and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho organised a rally in Mtwapa to counter Jubilee’s in Tononoka grounds.
Deputy President William Ruto was the chief guest. The Sunday Jubilee rally will be in Tononoka grounds, former Kisauni MP Anania Mwaboza said.
“But the rally is being organised by State House, Nairobi, so I have very little details to give. What I know is that President Uhuru Kenyatta will be there,” Mwaboza said.
During a live interview on Citizen TV yesterday, Joho said they already have a programme for their Sunday rally.
He said Jubilee is welcome to campaign in Mombasa whenever it wants. Joho denied allegations that NASA’s rally was planned to counter Jubilee’s.
“They can do what they want. We have no issues with that. The only thing we want known is that everybody has a right to campaign. We will not interfere with them and they should not interfere with us,” the governor said.
Joho said NASA’s rally was planned long ago and it should not be misconstrued to be a counter-rally against Jubilee’s, which will be presided over by Uhuru and Ruto.
“It could be either way. Jubilee may have planned a parallel rally to counter NASA’s. We don’t know what their plans are. We have no idea about their programme, but we have a running one that should not be seen as having a parallel rally,” he said.
Rally won’t be changed
He said the NASA rally will not be postponed just because Jubilee has planned one.
ODM Mombasa chairman Mohammed Hatimy told the Star on the phone plans for the rally are being discussed at a high level.
“We will give the details once we have everything ready,” he said.
Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir said there was to be a NASA rally in Taita tomorrow, but that will be postponed to allow leaders to attend the wedding of Mombasa woman representative Mishi Mboko’s daughter.
“By today morning, we were still discussing it, but I left it to my colleagues – the governor and Mboko – because I had engagements elsewhere,” Nassir said yesterday.
“We will back whatever decision is made. But I would like it to be done in Mvita grounds.”
If the rally is held in Mvita grounds, it will cause more tension, as the venue is less than 10 minutes drive from Tononoka grounds, which is also in Mvita constituency.
Joho’s financial muscle has enabled him to go toe-to-toe with the wealthy Jubilee, almost single-handedly putting up a fight not to be outshone.
Last year, when Jubilee branded 100 cars in preparation for the party launch, he countered that with his own version of branded cars, culminating in the ODM’s 10th anniversary celebrations. Joho was reported to have funded the fete in Mama Ngina grounds, Mombasa.
In December last year, he organised a rally in Likoni to erode the ‘gains’ Ruto had made a week earlier, when he held a rally in the same area.
Last month, Joho and the NASA brigade also held a major rally in Kwale to counter Jubilee’s rally earlier in the month.