Women in Garissa have stepped up campaigns for the county’s women representative position even as clans engage in no-holds-barred mobilisation to raise their stakes.
What is emerging though is that aspirants are now facing off on the basis of their campaign manifestos and promises of a better tomorrow for the electorate.
The seat has so far attracted three aspirants — Shamsa Abdikadir Haji, Mariam Hussein and Rumana Rashid Dolai, who hope to galvanise political support across the clans to clinch the seat.
Shamsa, who says clan politics should not be allowed to repress democracy, has intensified campaigns in the vast county, indicting her priority would be to embrace a different style of leadership, where the youth and women are involved in major decision making in the affairs of the arid county.
Shamsa says the county lags behind in infrastructure development because is stuck in the old system, where elected leaders impose non-priority policies and projects on residents.
She says she would offer consultative and inclusive leadership where everyone has a stake in determining the county’s agenda.
She says the old system used the youths and women for political and clan expediency and ignored their core interests. She says the two groups are indispensable if a community is to move forward.
“The youth and women form the majority of the population yet they don’t get hired for jobs and they are denied identity cards and other crucial State services. My leadership will seek to correct all social ills afflicting this county,” she said.
Shamsa, who is an official at the Garissa Water Services Corporation, also said the community should be left to decide on which candidates to vote in without coercion.
Shamsa, 30, said she is not a project of somebody and called for “a full blown democracy type of election where the voters decide and the winner and losers to work together for the sake of the community”.
“I am not financially endowed but I have the potential to offer leadership. I have the welfare of the county at heart,” she said, adding she was inspired to contest after youths in the county flouted the idea. She said the promulgation of the new Constitution also played part as it allowed special seats for women who before could not contest because of the cultural limitations.