Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho will work with Baringo Senator Gideon Moi and other like-minded leaders to block Deputy President William Ruto from the presidency.
Mr Joho is also demanding that leaders, whom he claims are tainted with corruption, to be locked out of presidential politics.
Mr Ruto has visited the Coast many times and is believed to be making inroads into the region which was previously dominated by the Nasa coalition.
The biggest loser of Mr Ruto’s growing popularity is Mr Joho, who is serving his final term as governor and has his own presidential ambitions.
But on Monday Mr Joho showed that he is going to fight back and take the battle to the DP.
“You should resist corruption and corrupt leaders. Let’s be careful to ensure our lives are in safe hands. Only leaders who value humanity will improve people’s lives,” Mr Joho said.
He spoke during the opening of a maternal high dependency unit at the Coast General Provincial Hospital (CPGH) built by Safaricom Foundation. The unit is the biggest in the country.
Mr Joho, who has faced frequent attacks from Mr Ruto and MPs allied to him, said he will join hands with other leaders in the country to clinch the presidency.
“Say what you want and do what you want, but politics is a game. We will deal with you (Mr Ruto) by working with your opponents. Let us not blame one another. Let’s see what will happen come 2022,” the governor said.
Apart from Mr Ruto who has been at the Coast nine times since the March 9 political truce between President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga hoping to use the pact to penetrate the area, Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford-Kenya’s Moses Wetangula have also been eyeing the region’s votes.
Despite extending a hand of friendship to President Kenyatta and Jubilee Party, Mr Joho has continued his criticism of Mr Ruto.
The self-proclaimed Coast political kingpin had been hoping to inherit Mr Odinga and ODM’s huge political following especially at the Coast to catapult him to the presidency. The region overwhelmingly voted for Mr Odinga and ODM in past polls.
Most ODM MPs at the Coast have, however, been coalescing around Mr Ruto since the handshake.
They have poured cold water on Mr Joho’s ambitions, with some being categorical they will back the DP in 2022.
It is probably too early to judge the political direction the region will take in next polls as nearly 70 per cent of elected leaders are never re-elected.
Yesterday, Mr Joho said his quest for the presidency would not be thwarted by “anyone”.
Mr Joho said he wants to ensure equity of resources and improved health services for all Kenyans.
The governor said those who are against the ‘Building Bridges’ initiative spearheaded by President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga to unite Kenyans were practising divisive politics.
Likoni MP Mishi Mboko described Mr Joho as a “lion”.
She told the governor to stand firm and promised to fight for him.
Ms Mboko said the handshake between President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga has brought peace, tranquility and calmed political tensions that had lingered across the country since last year’s General Election and the subsequent presidential poll re-run.
The MP said Coast MPs who have vowed to support Mr Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid are undermining Mr Joho who is one of their own.
“Mr Joho has supporters countrywide. The presidency does not belong to a particular person. Mr Joho, don’t mind them just work,” she said.
The vocal MP said Mr Joho should vie for presidency for the region to benefit from the national cake.
“How can a whole leader pitch camp in this region to discuss Joho instead of addressing unemployment, cancer scourge and food security?” she asked.
She was referring to the DP’s visit in the region during the weekend where Coast Parliamentary Group chairman Suleiman Dori, who was elected on an ODM ticket, said he will influence his colleagues to join the party the DP will use to vie for presidency.
Changamwe MP Omar Mwinyi had also criticised MPs praising Mr Ruto for launching “even a seven-kilometre road thinking it was a huge favour.” He said the DP had usurped the roles of ministry officials.