By Samuel Ouma
For more than a decade, Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho has been one of Kenya’s most devoted politicians.
After being a close supporter of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga for about eighteen years, Governor Joho has proven to be a leader one can rely on in the middle of political inconsistencies among many politicians in the country. He is one of the few leaders who have remained loyal to the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader in the face of external pressure and enticements from opposition leaders.
Unlike some politicians who are notorious for switching parties, Joho has been an active member of the ODM since its inception. In the presidential elections of 2007, 2013, and 2017, the Mombasa County chief effectively led Odinga’s campaigns on the coast of Kenya. Moreover, he is still Odinga’s point man at the coast ahead of the August 9 polls.
Joho also demonstrated his loyalty early this year after withdrawing his presidential bid in support of his party’s leader.
“I previously announced before the NGC that I have dropped my candidacy here and now endorse you (Raila Odinga) as my presidential candidate,” Joho said.
“You have been my political mentor since 2004, and there is just no way I will contest with you,” he added.
Apart from campaigning, he has accompanied the AU Infrastructure Envoy to other events in most situations. Furthermore, when Odinga was hospitalized in Dubai in 2020, Joho was among the ODM officials that travelled to the Middle Eastern country to see him.
As a result of his devotion, he has been endorsed by a group of leaders to be Odinga’s running mate in the upcoming elections. He will, however, go off against Narc Kenya party president Martha Karua, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya, Narc party leader Charity, and former MP Peter Kenneth.
Joho first entered politics in 2004, when he was elected chairman of the now-defunct Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in Kisauni. He held the role from 2005 until 2007.
In 2007, he was elected Kisauni Member of Parliament. During the 2013 general elections, he ran for and won the Mombasa Gubernatorial seat. He successfully defended his seat in 2017.
He is the current Deputy Party Leader of the ODM.