Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho says he has “nothing” personal against President Uhuru Kenyatta but vowed to continue his criticism against Jubilee administration.
Speaking during an interview on NTV Jioni on Wednesday evening, Mr Joho said he will continue to question the government’s actions “because of my people.”
“I will not change my political stand because this is for the benefit of my people of Mombasa. I have never abused any one. I always speak the truth and if anyone else would be there (president), I would tell him the truth because of my people,” said Mr Joho.
He said he did not understand what President Kenyatta meant when he said he will discipline and bring him down.
He added: “I do not know what kuninyorosha (discipline) means.”
“But if telling anyone the truth for the sake of my people amounts to abusing the Presidency then I have no apology to make,” said the ODM deputy party leader.
Mr Joho insisted he was heading to the launch of the Mtongwe Ferry by President Kenyatta following his position as governor and that he would not have attended if he were not.
There was hue and cry from some quarters when an elite presidential guard stopped him from attending the event. The security men searched vehicles forcing Mr Joho to use a motorbike.
But on Wednesday Mr Joho said: “They were afraid that if I attended I would have questioned why they were launching a 30-year-old ferry.”
He enumerated his success saying he had built modern hospitals, Early Childhood Development Education centres, erected street lights, improved water drainage and done roads.
The governor said he differed with the Head of State after he questioned why Waitiki Farm squatters were asked to pay for their title deeds after the government paid off Mr Evanson Kamau Waitiki and divided the land among the locals.
“If asking why my people are paying for title deeds and if asking why the Port is being taken to Naivasha is being abusive then let me say that I do not take back my words. As I said earlier I do not use abusive language against anyone,” he said.
The ODM deputy party leader said the defection of some leaders from the opposition to the Jubilee Party has not changed Coast politics from being the opposition’s stronghold.
The defections were not new at the Coast “as they had happened before but have never changed the position of the people.”
“In 2013 there were bigger celebrations of defections than we are seeing now. We saw people like Najib Balala, some small parties were formed but the results did not change the position of the people at all,” said Mr Joho in the live TV interview.
He emphasised that the declaration by Jubilee Party that it was taking the Coast region will not make locals leave ODM.
“My position is very clear, we are not afraid when they come because the truth is it does not change anything. Their coming to Mombasa does not interfere with our political stand,” he said.
They came but it did not mean that the people are with them, they are still with us and that is very clear,” he added
Mr Joho said he would only respect the President if the Mr Kenyatta showed him some respect.
On President Kenyatta’s directive that he should stop following him around, Mr Joho told a rally in Garsen last Sunday that the Head of State was not a woman to be followed.
“I am not a street urchin … I was elected by the people of Mombasa … I will not stop raising issues affecting locals,” said Mr Joho.
“I cannot keep on following a fellow man. Where should I go? There are people here whom I could follow,” he had responded to the Presidents jibe at him.
He added that he was opposed to changing Vision 2030 plans to shift the building of a dry port in Voi to Naivasha in the Rift Valley.
President Kenyatta, Mr Joho added, was also launching projects initiated by the Grand Coalition government of President Mwai Kibaki and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
The Jubilee administration, according to the ODM leader, had failed to fulfil its promises to Coast residents on water and land and locals had not benefited from jobs at the Lamu port.
Leaders of the ruling team, President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto, Mr Joho said, were rushing to launch projects at the Coast whose funds were not in the budget four months to the election, in order to gain political mileage.