Mombasa politician Ali Mwatsahu is still in the race to succeed Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir even after gunmen attempted to end his life.
Mwatsahu who was hoping to run on a United Democratic Alliance (UDA) ticket, was shot at 22 times on his way home on April 5 near JCC Buxton in Mombasa.
The MP hopeful who had 13 bullet fragments lodged in his body, recalled his attackers trailing him from Bombolulu after Taraweh prayers.
These are special prayers Muslims perform only in the month of Ramadhan.
“It is God. My time to leave earth hadn’t arrived. But I am forever grateful to the tuktuk driver who rushed me to this hospital when the rest refused. He saved my life,” he told the Nation from his hospital bed.
“The man is a true Good Samaritan whom I wish to meet once I am discharged. Wherever you are, please come and see me. I must thank you properly.”
The gunmen who were in two vehicles fired at his right side of the car. He suffered injuries to his arms and legs.
“I was leaving my Bamburi home heading towards Tudor when I saw a car trailing me around Bombolulu, but I didn’t pay too much attention to it or concentrate too much on it,” he said.
“But upon reaching JCC Buxton in Tudor, one of the vehicles overlapped on my right and the driver began shooting me.”
He told the daily that he could not see the occupants, but based on his security expertise, he deduced that they were armed with handguns.
He recalled taking cover and crouching at the bottom of his car seat after being shot at four times.
“I don’t know how I managed to squeeze myself to fit in there. I just took cover … at the bottom of the driver’s seat. I later heard the gunshots pouring like water. I managed to drive off a short distance so that he could be in a public area to be seen but he sped off.”
When he got to the hospital, he had 13 bullet wounds. 12 have been removed but one is still in his leg as its removal would be detrimental to his health.
“The doctors did their best. They stopped my bleeding and removed the 12 bullets and fragments. But they told me the bullet stuck in my leg will remain there because its removal might paralyse my legs.”
Mwatsahu has linked the attempt on his life to politics, although he insists he is unconcerned.
He also claimed to have forgiven the perpetrators and that God will repay them.
He will, however, beef up his security, noting that this was not the first time the ‘forces’ in Mombasa had threatened him.
“But God will protect me from my enemies. This is pure politics because in Mombasa, if you go against some powerful individuals, you are no longer safe,” he said.
He stated that he will begin campaigning as soon as he is released, guaranteeing his opponents that he will defeat them.
He maintained that he was unaware that UDA had chosen candidates for Mombasa political seats based on consensus.
“I am still vying but since they have already selected their flag-bearers, I will vie as an independent candidate,” he added.
Mwatsahu thanked former senator Hassan Omar, the UDA’s Mombasa coordinator, Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya, and other friends for supporting him during his difficult times.