smartKenya_Joho
Ali Hassan Joho and Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga at a function in Nairobi

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s recent visit to Mombasa and the attendant altercation with Governor Hassan Joho may have earned them bad headlines, but the people there still feel the incumbent should retain the seat.

A poll published by research firm Tifa on Tuesday showed that people in Mombasa County “feel closest” to opposition Nasa alliance and Hassan Joho is the man to beat.

“We asked Mombasa residents which political party they feel closest to? A majority of Mombasa county residents (66 per cent) feel closest to Nasa while 23 per cent are close to Jubilee Party,” the firm said in a report.

The opposition National Super Alliance brings together the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), Ford Kenya, Wiper Democratic Movement and the Amani National Congress (ANC) parties.

The survey done on March 16 and 18, two days after the President left Mombasa, shows that one in ten people are still undecided on whom to vote for.

But Mr Joho still commands runaway popularity.

STRONGHOLDS UNCHANGED

The poll findings show that party strongholds remain unchanged and elections in counties are likely to be won by incumbents in their respective positions.

Of the 550 people polled, sixty-eight per cent said they will vote for Mr Joho while his challenger Suleiman Shahbal, who was endorsed by the Jubilee Party, got only 15 per cent.

In Mombasa, Mr Joho, who was elected on an ODM ticket, wants to defend the seat on the same party but which is now a part of Nasa.

Nasa’s other affiliate, Wiper, has said it will field candidates, but none of the aspirants matches Joho’s popularity.

Tifa Managing Director Margaret Ireri told journalists in Nairobi that there is likely to be further changes especially after final candidates are confirmed.

PARTY NOMINATIONS

“The party nominations are expected to be competitive and they could also lead to [fallings-out]. This is because there are a number of strong candidates vying for one seat under the same party,” she said at the firm’s offices at Lenana Towers.

Senator Hassan Omar has a marginal edge to retain the seat at 13 per cent in a county where six in ten people are undecided on whom to vote in for senator.

But Mr Omar has said he wants to be governor.

Yet this study shows he commands support of only 7 per cent.

This means that even if the Jubilee candidate, Wiper’s Mr Omar plus Hezron Awiti and those still undecided are put together, Mr Joho could still win by half of votes.

PARTY AFFILIATION

When polled, Mombasa people responded based on their party affiliations

Eighty-four per cent of the 363 declared Nasa supporters disapproved the decision by the police to bar the governor from attending the re-launch of Mtongwe ferry by President Kenyatta.

More than half (54 per cent of 126 Jubilee loyalists) sided with the police action to keep Mr Joho away, although a third of Jubilee supporters reprimand the security agencies for blocking the governor.

The study also tracked the politics in Machakos and Kiambu counties ahead of the coming elections and the findings suggest that party popularity does not always tally with the popularity of candidates in those counties.

MAENDELEO CHAP CHAP

In Machakos, incumbent Governor Alfred Mutua who ditched Wiper and formed Maendeleo Chap Chap has the support of two thirds of voters there. But his Chap Chap party trails Nasa in popularity.

In Machakos, more than half (54 per cent) of people there feel “closest’ to Nasa.

But aspirants affiliated to Nasa, Bernard Kiala and Peter Mathuki, both of Wiper, Wavinya Ndeti of CCU and the undecided, all add up to just a third of Dr Mutua’s popularity at 26 per cent.

People there do not support Nasa as a party, but as an alliance.

Just five per cent said they support Nasa as a political party with more than a third of the voters saying they support Wiper (38 per cent).

In Kiambu, nine in ten people are closest to Jubilee.

And while the county expects a fierce fight between incumbent William Kabogo and Kabete MP Ferdinand Babayao, Mr Kabago still enjoys an edge at 46 per cent against Babayao’s 33 per cent.