By Abdikadir Sugow
Clan affiliations continue to hold sway in Garissa and will play a key role in shaping the politics of the area ahead of the General Election.
Grassroots lobbying has kicked off in earnest, with current and prospective leaders’ crisscrossing constituencies to consolidate support for their political ambitions, even as the agenda for development increasingly comes to the fore.
Well-financed and organised groups are building support for their political kingpins to extend their influence in controlling the region – home of the Abudwak, Abdalla and Auliyahan sub-clans of the larger Ogaden clan.
Despite efforts by youths to re-align themselves and take centre stage in local politics, they are largely being overlooked by politicians, who have opted to marshal the support of different community elders.
Local politicians seem convinced that the elders will still play a key part in influencing who will ascend to power at the ward, constituency and county level, overlooking the youth, who form the highest percentage of voters.
Although betting on the elders, politicians are slowly beginning to accept that the youth are a great asset during the electioneering period since they hold the largest bloc of votes.
To compound the equation further, a significant number of youth have shown interest to vie for political seats and their ambitions cannot be dismissed as they are out to promote and protect their peers’ agenda.
The seat of Governor is the cornerstone of the local political landscape and all the three sub-clans are keen on backing their favoured candidate to secure control and running of the county’s proposed Sh4.1 billion annual budget.
Aspirants are busy on the ground strategising on how to appeal for and win the larger clans’ support. Among them is former PS and DC Ali Bunow Korane and outgoing Northern Water Service Board Chief Executive Officer Mohamed Maulid Shurie.
They hail from the dominant Abudwak sub-clan of retired Kenya military Chief of General Staff General Mohamoud Mohamed.