Mombasa businessman and politician Suleiman Shahbal has announced that he has resigned from the ruling Jubilee Party and joined Raila Odinga’s ODM party ahead of the 2022 election.

In a post on his social media pages, Shahbal said he had opted to quit the party headed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and joined the party headed by his handshake partner Raila.

Suleiman Shahbal. PHOTO/COURTESY

Pundits believe the move was due to the fact that the coastal county of Mombasa is predominantly an ODM zone and one of Raila’s key political strongholds.

“I have, today, officially resigned from the Jubilee Party. This follows my announcement to join the ODM party,” he posted.

Hassan Joho and Suleiman Shahbal. PHOTO/COURTESY

Shahbal added, “I want to take this opportunity to thank the Jubilee Party leadership for the support offered to me throughout my membership.”

Shahbal is eyeing the Mombasa Governor post in the 2022 General Election to replace Ali Hassan Joho (ODM), who beat him in the last poll, and is set to finish his second and final term.

Suleiman Shahbal and Raila Odinga. PHOTO/COURTESY

“I will further put my efforts in ensuring the merger between Jubilee and ODM parties is realized. The Handshake spirit is what we all need!,” he added.

He is set to square it out with Mvita MP Abdulswamad Shariff Nasir, who has also expressed interest in the position, in the ODM primaries for the party ticket ahead of next year’s poll.