Mombasa county government denies sabotaging Joho’s rivals billboards

Nyali Mp Hezron Awiti's supporters in Buxton, where there were trying to erect the huge billboard after being confronted by County Inspectorate Officers. PHOTO: COURTESY.

Mombasa,KENYA:The Mombasa county government has denied threatening advertising companies with sanctions should they erect billboards belonging to aspirants seeking to edge out governor Ali Joho during the August polls.

In a press briefing on Tuesday at the Mombasa county government offices, the Mombasa county Transport executive Tawfiq Balala denied the allegations urging the complainants to produce cheques or rejection letters.

“We will only strip off your billboard If your are not licensed to erect one” Balala said.

Balala proceeded to say that they had been forced to reduce the number of billboards in the county putting into consideration factors such as the Mombasa skyline, proximity to a school and motorists view.

Earlier in the day a tense standoff had ensured at the Buxton junction after supporters of Vibrant Democratic party Mombasa gubernatorial candidate Hezron Bolo Awiti were prevented by county inspectorate officers from erecting a billboard at the area.

In a statement to newsrooms, Awiti’s personal assistant Edmund Kwena accused the county government of rejecting Awiti’s application permit to allow his billboards erected even returning a cheque to him.

However, Balala said that only advertising companies were licensed to erect billboards in around the city and not individuals.

The Director of communications at the Mombasa county assembly Richard Chacha urged those making allegations to produce evidence; saying that public advertising was an affair run by private companies and not the county government   and some of Joho’s billboard applications too had been rejected by advertising companies.

Late last week, Joho’s rivals namely Suleiman Shabhal of the Jubilee party,Senator Hassan Omar Sarai of Wiper Democratic Movement , Hezron Awiti of the Vibrant democratic movement and senatorial independent candidate Jabess Odour had accused the county government of sabotaging their efforts to put up billboards by threatening advertising companies with unknown sanctions should they erect their billboards.