Business mogul-cum politician Suleiman Shahbal has officially ditched President Uhuru Kenyatta-led Jubilee party for Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).
Through a statement dated July 6, 2021, the former Mombasa County gubernatorial aspirant said that he had officially resigned as a member of the ruling party following his announcement to join the Orange party.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank the Jubilee Party leadership for the support offered to me throughout my membership,” Shahbal said.
He further noted that he was going to put his efforts in ensuring the merger between Jubilee and ODM parties is realised.
His move comes less than a decade since he quit the party, after losing the ODM nominations to Governor Hassan Joho in 2013.
Shahbal shocked his supporters when he defected to UDF from ODM, and then to Wiper Party, all in a matter of weeks.
He moved to Wiper on January 19, 2013, after three of his agents were allegedly roughed up by ODM supporters at the height of the contest for the orange party’s nomination.
Last month, Shahbal, who was addressing the Mombasa Luo Focus Group, expressed his interest in succeeding Governor Joho whose second term is ending in the next 13 months.
He rallied his support behind ODM leader Raila Odinga urging his audience at the forum to consider Raila’s presidential bid in 2022.
The businessman also pushed for unity between Raila and Kalonzo, adding that he would be happy if he saw the duo at the helm of the country’s leadership.
Raila on Saturday resisted pressure from party supporters to endorse Mvita MP Abdulswamad Shariff Nassir for the Mombasa governorship.
Both Nassir and Shahbal have declared interest in suceeding Joho. They are both angling for Raila’s blessings as they seek to run on the ODM party ticket.
Nassir is banking on his loyalty to the party to receive Raila’s blessings while Shahbal is hoping his friendship with the former Prime Minister and his financial muscle will endear him to the ODM leadership.