One thing that strikes anyone when the name of Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho is mentioned is controversy.
The man is full of drama that since 2013 when he was elected first Mombasa Governor he has constantly attracted media as well as public attention.
So who exactly is this man?
Born on February 26, 1976 in the port city of Mombasa, Joho, popularly known as governor 001 attended Tom Mboya Primary School before joining Serani Boys Secondary School. After successful completion of his secondary education, he enrolled at Kampala University in Uganda where he was admitted to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management.
Joho rose from an amateur politician who unsuccessfully contested for the Kisauni MP seat in 2002 to a self-made people’s representative who made his first appearance in the National Assembly in 2007 on an ODM ticket.
From then, he has been calling shots both at the county government as re-elected governor as well as national politics where he is deputy party leader of ODM.
Joho enjoys bragging rights as the first governor of county 001 after being elected in the 2013 general election, with over 132,586 votes and was sworn in on March 27 the same year.
He has been the topic in everyone’s lips considering his association with opposition leader Raila Odinga and more so after he directly chose to blast President Uhuru Kenyatta during his Coastal tours after insinuated that the president, had, during his visits to the region never involved him in his development agenda for the electoral zone.
His wrangles with Nairobi deepened when he spearheaded opposition campaigns for the Malindi by-election which took place on March 7, 2016. He put on a spirited fight that saw him deliver the seat to his party ODM despite the deployment of heavyweight politicians to campaign for the Jubilee Party candidate.
Of course, all this shoulder rubbing with the government has had a little price to pay as the governor at one time saw businesses associated with his family closed down during the stand-off between him and the Ministry of Internal Security where his security detail was withdrawn.
He also had a frosty relationship with the Kenya Revenue Authority after being accused of tax evasion.
But as they say, in politics, there are no permanent enemies or friends. Love him or hate him, Joho is a self-made political giant. He was, he is, and he will forever be a history maker in Coastal politics.