Governors’ war of words sparked as Kabogo takes on Joho

JOHO-KABOGO [PHOTO/COURTESY]

Kiambu Governor William Kabogo has asked his counterpart Mombasa Governor Ali Joho to “keep off President Uhuru Kenyatta”.

Speaking on Tuesday evening at a rally in Gatundu Stadium, where he had gone to thank residents for turning out to register as voters ahead of August 8 poll, Mr Kabogo asked Mr Joho to “respect the President”.

Mr Kabogo, indirectly, did not spare Turkana Govenor Josephat Nanok in his swipe.

Mr Nanok had recently insinuated that the only way President Uhuru Kenyatta and his party can be assured of votes from the Turkana bloc in the August 8 poll is by ensuring that the region is well catered for.

A visibly angry President Kenyatta distanced himself from allegations made by Mr Nanok, telling the residents not to listen to propaganda.

“I want to send a strong message to these two people. Number one is (Mombasa) Governor Ali Joho. Leave President Uhuru Kenyatta alone! I know where you live. And I am sending this stern message to you, Joho, leave his Excellency the President alone. Leave Uhuru Kenyatta alone. Respect the President,” said Mr Kabogo.

“My warning message goes to the other man (Mr Nanok). I do not know even how he looks like. He looks like [expletive]. You remember the other day he said his Excellency is called Muthamaki? Satan should be defeated. Satan should be defeated,” said Kabogo.

ANOINTED BY GOD

“This is our country and nobody can take it from us. He (Uhuru) is our king and he was anointed by God. You, Gatundu residents, what do you think about that matter? Lift your hands up to show whether you accept him (Uhuru) as your king,” said Kabogo in Kikuyu, translated to English.

Despite quotas claiming that Governor Joho has been disrespectful to the national government’s executive, he (Mr Joho) does not think so.

“People have accused me of insulting President Uhuru Kenyatta. I have never done that. I was raised by parents who instilled discipline in me. I cannot abuse anyone,” Mr Joho said in his office in Mombasa on Tuesday, March 14.

Governor Joho’s statement was echoed by Richard Chacha, who is the Director of Communications and Public Relations of the County Government of Mombasa.

Mr Chacha said: “The governor has never disrespected the President. All his statements are factual. The first time sections accused the governor of disrespecting President Kenyatta was when he (Uhuru) came to Waitiki in Likoni. The President had not informed the governor he will be visiting – as protocol demands. It is a matter of courtesy for the governor to go receive him at the airport, just like it happens in other counties.

“The second time the governor was accused of disrespect was when we were at Bamburi and he (Joho) said that the President should not launch a project that was donor-funded and was initiated during the grand coalition government. People see what Jubilee has done. And that is it! Where’s the disrespect? Nothing in the issues I have outlined qualifies as disrespect, if you ask me.”

The standoff between Uhuru and Joho escalated on Monday, March 13, when the Mombasa County boss was barred from accessing Mtongwe, where President Kenyatta was presiding over the re-launching of Mtongwe ferry.

Mr Chacha said barring the governor from attending the President’s function at Mtongwe was unnecessary as Joho was not planning to disrupt or engage the President in a face-off.

“The governor did not have any intention of disrupting a function presided over by the President. The governor was to go and reignite a debate that had been there about status of ferry services and management – is it a national or devolved function? We wanted to emphasise that ferry services and management is a devolved function,” said Mr Chacha.

“As governor of Mombasa and issues affecting the people of Mombasa, he needed to be there (Mtongwe). We did not intend to go and disrespect the President; we did not want to disrupt the function. All we wanted to do is be present – as an obligation,” added Mr Chacha.

‘MISSING’ KSH23 BILLION?

Mr Chacha said he thinks President Kenyatta barred Mr Joho from accessing Mtongwe because “he (President Kenyatta) feared Governor Joho was going to fault him for giving non-factual information to Mombasa residents about the amount of money disbursed to the county by the central government”.

“The President on Saturday said that Mombasa County Government has so far been allocated KSh40 billion since 2013 by the central government. That is not true. The county government has received KSh17 billion from the National Treasury. Joho wanted to put that record straight.  Perhaps Uhuru feared Joho will use that occasion to engage him. That is our suspicion,” said Mr Chacha.

Governor Joho has now asked Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Henry Rotich, to explain how much money Mombasa County Government has received from the National Government in the past four years.

In a letter addressed to Mr Rotich, Joho said his Mombasa County has received only KSh16.4 billion and not KSh40 billion as had been claimed by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Joho wants Treasury to disburse the “remaining” KSh23.6 billion that his government is yet to receive.

(Reporting by Brian Okoth and Wanja Mbugua)

 

 

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