Home » Raila blunder sends Shahbal back to square one

Raila blunder sends Shahbal back to square one

Corrupt businessman cum politician Suleiman Shahbal has been sent back to the drawing board following a series of political miscalculations that saw him miss out in the Mombasa gubernatorial race.

Shahbal shocked the entire country when he abruptly shivered out of the Mombasa race in favour of now Governor Abdulswamad Nassir with whom they were competing to fly the ODM party flag.

The man who had been hoping from one party to another including Jubilee, Wiper and ODM where he bought the support of ODM party leader Raila Odinga and former Mombasa governor Hassan Joho, missed out to vie at the only time he was rated as a front runner.

He had relied on Raila to propel him to Mombasa’s top seat but the ODM later became confused whether to support him or snitch on Nassir who had stood with the party for his entire career.

Raila’s confusion and laxity to publicly endorse Shahbal left his political advisers with only one option, to opt out. Reality dawned on him very late in the day that despite making serious political inroads and buying ODM leadership, he would still be denied the ODM ticket.

He could not penetrate Joho influence in the ODM party and he also had no nerves to run as an independent candidate. The coward Shahbal who had banked on Odinga would move to Nairobi, announce to his running mate and supporters that he had opted out of the race, then switch off his phones.

His supporters refused to be herded to back Nassir but instead scattered to different political formations with the majority rallying behind the former Nairobi governor Mike Sonko whose candidature was later stopped by the Supreme Court of Kenya.

Mombas Governor Nassir, Raila Odinga and Suleiman Shahbal when he was duped to back Nassir [p/courtesy]
Sonko became the real threat and political analysts argue that he was barred for fear that he would beat Nassir. He rallied his supporters to UDA’s Hassan Omar but by then voter apathy had already set in and not many of them really turned out to vote later in August.

Analysts further point that though tainted, Shahbal stood a good chance to win on whatever ticket but he never listened to the voices of the people but political god fathers including Odinga who has nothing to offer him now.

To survive, Shahbal now has to boot lick the new Mombasa governor, Mr. Nassir, for his controversial multi billion shillings Buxton housing project to continue uninterrupted.

UDA candidate, Hon. Omara had vowed to halt the project if he became governor because it was ill-conceived and the tender was single sourced without justification and consultations.

Even Nassir while serving as Mvita MP opposed the housing project as he accused Joho administration of giving away public land worth billions of shillings to a private developer without following legal procedures.

His claims were backed by the senate committee which directed the Mombasa County government to supply it with tender documents including minutes of meetings that preceded the award to Shahbal’s firm but it had none to present.

Nassir only toned down on the matter after Shahbal shivered from the Mombasa race and backed him.

The controversial businessman is also hoping that the ODM party will succeed by consoling him with a nomination to the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) after the Selection Committee presided over by deputy party leader Wycliffe Oparanya nominate him as one of the candidates alongside Winnie Odinga.

ODM nominees include Mohammed Diriye, Timothy Bosire, Beatrice Askul and Justus Kizito but Raila Odinga’s daughter is at the forefront after reports on her consideration emerged in October but she denied applying.

“I have not applied for Eala nor has any official communication come from the party. Just a disgruntled incoming CS bothered by the girl,” Winnie Odinga said.