Elected leaders from Mandera hold hands in solidarity in defiance of a council of elders' decree that they should not defend their seats come August. They are from left Mandera East MP Abdiaziz Ali Farah, Governor Ali Roba and MPs Mohamud Mohamed (Mandera West), Shaaban Ali Issack (Lafey), Adan Mohmed Noor (Mandera North) and Mohamed Haji Abdi (Banisa). [PHOTO: ALLAN MUNGAI/STANDARD]

Some 30 elected leaders who were last year ordered not to defend their seats have vowed to defy the directive.

In the intra-clan power-sharing deal announced by Garre elders in August last year, almost all elected leaders in the county were told not to contest any seats in the August 8 elections.

The barred leaders include Senator Billow Kerrow, Governor Ali Roba, MPs Mohamed Huka (Mandera South), Mohamed Abdi Haji (Banissa), Mohamud Mohamed (Mandera West) and Aden Mohamed Noor (Mandera North), Woman Representative Fathia Mahbub and 18 elected MCAs.

Addressing a rally at Moi stadium in Mandera yesterday, the leaders dismissed the elders' declaration, saying they would  defend their respective seats.

On the other hand, the council of elders has presented names of candidates who should vie for the positions. They include former Rift Valley Provincial Commissioner Hassan Noor, who has been given the go-ahead to contest the governorship.

But the incumbent leaders termed the elders' verdict as unjust and insensible, arguing that the council of elders had gained their authority through the support of the same leaders they are attempting to kick out.

The leaders, who are all vying on a Jubilee Party ticket, said they were confident of winning.

The event was attended by prominent elders from the Garre, Murulle, Degodia and Marehan clans to promote true democracy and inter-ethnic harmony in Mandera.

"Real unity is where all the leaders are together and not one where a few individuals impose leaders on residents," Governor Roba said, adding that the day marked the end of negotiated democracy because the entire county leadership was united.

Only Roba came out to declare their position on the elder's decree, which Mr Kerrow heeded and declared he would not defend his seat.

"The elders have no say now that we as the leaders of Mandera are together," Roba said.

Others at the function were Mandera East MP Abdiaziz Ali Farah and Lafey MP Shaaban Ali Issack, who were not affected by the negotiated democracy.