Mombasa Governor, Ali Hassan Joho honored the summons by Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) hearing today. He was expected to answer to allegations regarding the transfer of the Mwembe Tayari market to individuals name as Zubedi and Bawazir, which the commission alleges was illegally done.
Mwembe Tayari market fell into disrepair and became a solid waste dumping ground and a home for street urchins, drug addicts and criminals. Questions were asked about the then municipal council and the inability to repair it and turn it around. The last intervention was when the county government forcefully removed the urchins and addicts living in the building. After that, it was fenced off and pulled down.
“We demolished this market because it was being used as a drug den and since then nobody has stepped on it. How then did I facilitate these people to take it over.”
Land grabbing in Mombasa Island has reached alarming levels. Rift Valley Railways land has been a targeted by private developers. Last year, it was revealed that land belonging to the statehouse was grabbed and is now the site of an upcoming hotel.
His appearance at the EACC comes hot on the heels of Nairobi governors Evans Kidero. Kidero appeared at the EACC to answer allegations of corruption flanked by hundreds of his supporters. Will Joho follow Kidero’s example? Joho is the second of the seven Governors who will be quizzed by the EACC in the coming weeks about corruption.
In his defence, the governor has completely dissociated himself from the transfer of the market which he alleges happened before he was governor of Mombasa and whose transfer was sanctioned by the then minister of local government William Ole Ntimama. He also alleges malice in the accusations which he termed as unfounded.
“There is nothing like resigning. They have been trying all means to bring me down, but they have failed again. They said I am a drug baron, land grabber and that I possess fake degree certificate.”
In addition, the Mombasa Governor took great exception at being named by the EACC and has been on record threatening to sue the commission for defamation.
However, Joho’s supporters have expressed their support for the governor and have posted messages on his facebook page encouraging him to soldier on and expressed their confidence in his performance.