Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho on Sunday revealed that his bitter fallout with President Uhuru Kenyatta was caused by the Head of State's announcement in January 2016 that the Waitiki squatters would have to pay for their title deeds.
Joho noted that the President got angry when he questioned why the squatters were being asked to pay for their title deeds after the government paid off the owner of the land, Mr Evanson Kamau Waitiki and divided the land among the locals.
“The President was categorical the squatters had to pay because Coast residents did not vote for him,” Mr Joho said.
On January 9, 2016, while issuing locals with title deeds at Shikaadabu Primary School in the coast, Uhuru announced: “I have to tell you the truth and not politicking around this matter. The government borrowed money from the Settlement Trust Fund kitty to pay Waitiki, this money has to be returned.”
“We have an option of either extending that paying period from three years to 12 years, but we cannot waive away that money...This is the best deal I can give you,” Uhuru insisted
Coast leaders led by Governor Joho would later condemn the President accusing him of being “heartless” for expecting squatters to come up with Sh182,000 over the required period of three years.
On Sunday, the Governor further faulted the government for allegedly changing Vision 2030 plans to shift the building of a dry port in Voi to Naivasha in the Rift Valley.
“The President wants to make locals poorer as the relocation of the port will deny local youths jobs,” said the governor. “I have no apologies over my stand. Those who want to burst can burst.”
Ever since the Waitiki dispute, Joho and Kenyatta have clashed on several occasions with the most recent incidents being during the launch of the Buxton Foot Bridge in January this year and two weeks ago during the re-launch of the Mtongwe Ferry.
Meanwhile, Joho on Sunday insisted that he would only respect President Kenyatta if he also showed him respect.