By Harrison Kivisu,
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho has pledged Sh300 billion from the national budget to support small businesses in the grassroots countrywide should he win the 2022 presidential election.
"The country's annual budget is about Sh3 trillion and I will ensure not less than 10 percent of that budget will go to supporting small businesses for women and youth in the grassroots," said Joho on Tuesday afternoon, February 16, as he extended his campaign in Mombasa County.
The two-term governor's pledge comes days after Deputy President William Ruto also promised Sh29 billion kitty and approximately Sh100 million for every constituency to support 'hustler" businesses.
"One percent or 2 percent allocation can't solve our poverty problems. Youth and women should be empowered so that we can end the unemployment problem we are having as a country," said the Mombasa leader who became a darling of the public at the height of the Covid-19 outbreak last year because of his superb management of the pandemic.
The governor also presented Sh55 million school bursaries for Nyali and Kisauni constituencies.
Joho, who deputies Raila Odinga in the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), said he is aiming for nothing short of the top seat, warning his political competitors to brace for a bruising battle.
He took a swipe at DP Ruto over his political forays in the Coast, warning the Jubilee man that the region is strongly behind his candidature.
"Safari hii watajua hawajui, wajue hii Mombasa iko na watu toka kila kabila na twaishi nao vizuri. Wacha wajue safari hii tumeamua katambe mpaka kwa debe. Let them know that this time we have decided as people from the Coast that we must participate in the ballot with a candidate from the region,"Joho said.
The ODM leader, who was speaking at Frere Town grounds in Bombolulu also slammed Nyali MP, Mohamed Ali, and local MCA Charles Kitula, for opposing his development agenda.
Ali a close ally of Dr. Ruto and recently led an empowerment gathering at Frere Town grounds, an event DP Ruto attended as the chief guest.
Among leaders who back Joho's presidential ambitions are Kisauni MP, Ali Mbogo and Said Abdalla, an MP aspirant for Nyali Constituency.
The legislators said the Coastal region will unanimously support Joho's presidential ambition in the next election, days after Joho presented papers at the ODM party for presidential nomination.
"Time is ripe that we need to be recognized as Coastal people. We should speak in one voice as a region to see our own Governor Joho ascend to the presidency,” said Mbogo.
At the event, Shanzu Ward MCA Maimuna Salim and Mombasa Deputy Speaker Fadhili Makarani said the County Assembly will pass the Building Bridges Initiative referendum proposal.