By Ali Abdi
In the past three days, Borana leaders including politicians, elders and professionals from Moyale, Sololo and Saku have been camping in Ethiopia’s Region Four to decide who should be the community’s flag-bearer. The meeting started on Saturday at Shawa Bare on the outskirts of Moyale town.
It was graced by Borana’s Abba Gadha (traditional king) Guyo Gobba, who reigns in Ethiopia. Ethiopia government was represented by a Mr Guyo, a PC. Top on the agenda of the meeting was to decide who should be the community’s flag-bearer for the seat of Marsabit County governor in the coming elections.
The candidates are Moyale MP Mohamud Ali and Ethiopia Save the Children Country director Chachu Tadicha. Tadicha attended the meeting while Ali was reported to have been involved in the burial of former Internal Security minister George Saitoti and his deputy Orwa Ojode.
Others in attendance included a senior Nairobi City Council officer, who is eyeing the Moyale parliamentary seat, two ex-ambassadors and two former Moyale MPs.
Sources yesterday told The Standard that a side interested in the seat had appealed to Abba Gadha court to assist the community in identifying a candidate. ‘‘The Borana appealed to Abba Gadha to intervene and help them in reaching consensus between the MP and Tadicha. The community could not agree at the local level,” said the source. Since last September, the two sides have been at loggerheads with each announcing their candidate was the community’s choice.
The Abba Gadha, despite reigning in Ethiopia, has enormous influence among Kenya’s Boranas, especially in cultural and security matters, but it is the first time the court has publicly engaged in local politics.
“He reigns in Ethiopia but local Borana also follow his advice. He has helped a lot in peace building and can help in reconciliation,’’ said a source from Moyale. The Borana in Marsabit are keen to capture the seat of governor and whoever is picked is expected to fight it out with a candidate from the Gabra community.
Former North Horr MP Ukur Yattani, who is ambassador to Austria, has been unanimously picked by his community to vie for the seat. The Rendille and other smaller tribes are expected to provide swing votes.
At Shawa Bare meeting, those who attended reported heavy presence of Ethiopian security personnel who were deployed to guard the venue.
There were complaints from Kenya’s delegates who accused Ethiopia administrators led by the PC of suppressing their views.
“The atmosphere was intimidating and the PC ran the show. We were reduced to mere spectators in a matter directly affecting us,” said a Moyale civil servant. Kenya intelligence officers had been monitoring the proceedings and filing reports.