There has been a lot of excitement about Mombasa Governor Joho’s visit to America. The radical governor has been selling the visit as a victory over accusations that he is a drug dealer. His office is selling the visit as proof that he cannot be a drug dealer, because if he was, the Americans would not have allowed him to travel to their country. Joho’s PR office has been sharing photos of the governor in the US abundantly.
However reports indicate that Joho was actually travelling to America to discuss a deal with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) who have been asked to stand down on Joho in return for him becoming an informer for Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on activities at the Kenyan coast.
Reports are that Hassan Joho and his elder brother Abu Joho have been under immense pressure from his international drug business colleagues who are extremely unhappy with the attention that the Kenyan government has put on the combined international drug business at the Coast, due to the Governors constant political attacks on the Uhuru administration. One of the issues they raised was the blowing up of a ship that had transported drugs by the Kenyan Defense Forces. Joho is held accountable for the loss of the ship. However even more alarming is the fact that other shipping companies are very reluctant to transport drugs to the Kenyan coast – whatever the payment. The pressure on Joho is said to be so high that the Mombasa Governor has been living under fear that he will be killed – as happened to his predecessor Ibrahim Akasha. He has changed his security and even moved out of his house. He now lives in secret locations and moves every few days.
Joho is said to have approached his Party Leader and former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga for advise on his predicament. This was after all his attempts to reach out to President Kenyatta through the Kenyan President’s Personal Assistant Jomo Gecaga failed to bear any fruit. Joho wanted Raila to speak to Uhuru and reduce the pressure.
However Raila, who has been getting campaign money from Joho came up with a different plan. The Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga advised Joho to cut a deal with Americans and have them reduce the pressure on his drug business, in return for information on terrorist and violent extremist activities at the Kenyan coast. Railas’s argument was that the Americans are more interested in fighting terrorism than in fighting drugs. Raila then proposed that as soon as Joho cut the deal he would negotiate to be allowed to make a public trip to America, and then use the fact that he had travelled as proof that he cannot be a drug dealer.
Joho immediately wrote to the Nairobi FBI office with the proposal, with an endorsement from Raila. The FBI sought clearance from Washington, and got it. Joho then immediately embarked on his trip to the US, with private media in tow. However he had to first travel to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to be grilled before he signed the deal. The pictures of this visit were also distributed by his PR office, but with a different explanation. Washington also sent the US Ambassador Bob Godec to Mombasa to confirm some of information Joho had to share to prove his information was solid. Joho also travelled to the US DEA offices where they assured him they would stand down on investigations against his drug business as long as he fulfilled his obligations to the DHS. The DEA also demanded that Joho reduce his drug business, and then contain it to the East African region exclusively. He must also not partner with any cartels that operate in the US.
However Joho is now concerned about how to fulfill his side of the deal. Violent extremists and terrorist groups have made the coastal town of East Africa their safe haven after cutting protection deals with local drug dealers, led by Abu Joho, the Mombasa Governor brother and the drug kingpin of the region since Akasha died. These terrorists have been paying protection money to the Mombasa County administration to be shielded from the National government Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU). Now he has to turn against them to survive.
But there is a silver lining in it for Joho’s politics. The deal with the Americans provides Joho with something to undermine Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar with. Omar has turned out to be a vicious competitor against Joho for the seat of Mombasa Governor.
Joho suspects that Omar is being funded by the coast-based terrorists to remove him from office due to the extortionist nature of his administration. Omar has also promised to reduce the protection payments if they can support him to remove Joho. The extremists are said also said to consider Omar closer to their brand of Islam than Joho. They also have a problem with how Joho’s drug business is affecting their local recruits. The leadership of the coast-based extremists have also been following Joho’s American trip with a lot of trepidation.