The defection of Isiolo Senator Mohamed Abdi Kuti to Narc-Kenya from Jubilee Party has brought interesting dimensions into the gubernatorial race. The question is; was it strategic or survival tactic?
Kuti is eyeing the Governor’s seat held by Godana Doyo. His defection now leaves former Tana Athi River Development Authority chairman Abdul Bahari as the sole JP aspirant for the seat in the nominations slated for Tuesday.
Two weeks ago, Governor Doyo decamped to Party for Development and Reforms from JP, a move that left the race to Kuti and Bahari.
Kuti, while accompanied by his running mate Abdi Issa and four MCAs, announced his defection at Narc-Kenya headquarters in Nairobi. The Senator claimed he was prompted to make the shift following claims that the Bahari camp planned to rig him out.
“I moved because I lost faith with the election board that was inclined towards my rivals,” he claimed.
Last week, the party dismissed three returning officers but the board chairman Abduba Sama said it was done by the head office.
Kuti on Wednesday wrote a resignation letter to JP after his camp’s plea for their grievances to be addressed fell on deaf ears. Some local pundits view his defection as a way to counter a directive by Borana Council of Elders who last Monday asked all Borana clans to vote for Bahari at nomination stage. The elders led by their chairman Abdullahi Haji Gonjobe summoned all the four Borana aspirants to make the announcement. Apart from Bahari and Doyo, other gubernatorial aspirants who attended the meeting were Hussein Golicha (Kanu) and Adan Kabelo (ODM).
“It was evident that majority of Borana would have voted for Bahari and his running mate (Domiciano Mainge),’’ said Daud Tari, an NGO official.
Ali Farah, a journalist from the region said: “Kuti had been controlling Isiolo politics since 2002, but this time he was caught off guard.”
He said Kuti has every reason to be concerned.
“His defection is not going to change anything. Our camp still has majority of Borana and non-Borana speakers like Meru, Turkana, Somali clans and Samburu. Kuti has panicked and written his own political obituary,’’ said Jarso Guyo, from Bahari’s camp.
Governor Doyo says he is confident of retaining his seat in the August elections owing to his development projects. “We have transformed our county in just four years and the voters are with me,” he says.