“We do not want showbiz. We want people to ask us questions.”
That is the explanation Mombasa governor hopeful Suleiman Shahbal and his running mate Anania Mwaboza have given for their grassroots campaigns that have not received media coverage.
The two have been accused of only being active whenever Jubilee Party leaders President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto are in town.
However, they denied the claims, saying they have been more active at the grassroots than any other candidate, meeting various communities.
“Just because we have not been inviting the media does not mean we have not been meeting people. Last evening we concluded a series of meetings with the Somali community in Mombasa,” Shahbal said.
He spoke on Tuesday in Mombasa after announcing his resignation as chairman of the Gulf African Bank, which he founded, to concentrate on politics.
Shahbal said he and Mwaboza have met people living with disability, the Somali community, student leaders, artists and other communities.
Shahbal, who garnered 96,000 votes against incumbent Hassan Joho’s 130,000 in 2013, is determined to bring in more significant votes to win.
According to Jubilee insiders, there is soon going to be a change of tack.
“We knew this would come some day. There has been differing opinions in the mode of campaigns adopted. Some were against these grassroots campaigns without media coverage,” a member of the Jubilee secretariat said.
On Monday evening, Mwaboza told the Star on the phone that the grassroots door-to-door campaigns was meant to give residents an opportunity to ask questions and be answered by the principals themselves.
“Rallies do not offer these opportunities. We want people to understand our agenda and ensure they vote for what they understand,” he said.
Anybody can say anything during a rally because they know they will not be subjected to defending their utterances by the public.”
On Tuesday, Shahbal said that after nominations, when Jubilee will have candidates as opposed to aspirants, they will go all out in campaigns “that will shake every corner of the county”.
JP will conduct nominations on April 21.
“Mombasa residents want development. They do not want to attend rallies on empty stomachs,” Shahbal said.
His campaign team will now use the success of the Gulf African Bank to showcase his development skills.