Bated breath as 2017 gubernatorial contests shapes up in Wajir

All eyes are on the biggest clan in Wajir County as the 2017 gubernatorial race gathers momentum.

Several leaders and communities are strategizing on a winning formula ahead of the polls.

Speculations are rife about which candidate the Fai community will pick to face off with the incumbent and possibly other candidates from other clans.

Topmost on the community's agenda this month is the choice of elders and their chairman by acclamation for the process. The group would then identify a candidate. The community wants to face the elections as a united block, according to an elder, Musa Abdi.

Abdi said the one who will be endorsed to fly the clan’s flag in the elections will not be challenged.

"Other communities are free to contest the seat, but for our community, the one we pick will be unchallenged," said Abdi.

Potential names that have been touted for the community endorsement include Mohammed Abdi, who contested the seat in last elections and currently the Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Another is Ugas Sheikh Mohammed who contested for the Tarbaj Constituency seat. Another name doing the rounds is Mohammed Duale, also known as Trocaire.

The Fai community forms the biggest clan in the county and has been convening in various forums in an effort to plan how to floor Governor Ahmed Abdullahi, who hails from the Mantan clan.

Governor Ahmed is also closely watching every step of the Fai community since in the last election, they backed him almost to a man.

The fact is that the same Fai community that overwhelmingly influenced his ascendancy to leadership is the same that will have a significant say on his fate in 2017.

But his fate also depends partly on the unity or disunity of the Fai community in their effort to find a candidate for the seat.

The headache facing the Fai community will be coming up with the nominee for the seat who will be acceptable across all the sub-clans that form the community and prevent a fallout from the process.

In the spirit of reconciliation and maintaining the Fai community's unity there will be a give and take compromise.

Consequently, other positions especially Tarbaj and Wajir East constituencies will play a significant role. The two constituencies are predominantly occupied by the Fai community.

As a result, it is largely expected that a sub clan whose person is anointed for the gubernatorial contest is not expected to vie for any of the parliamentary.

The dilemma will be where to place the Masare sub-clan who are the minority.

Nevertheless, there are reports that some candidates from the other major clans are eyeing the seat irrespective of what will transpire in the process of 'anointing' a governor.

They include Rashid Kassim and Wajir County speaker Bishar who both contested for the same seat in the last elections but lost.

While the Fai are the undisputed dominant community, they need other communities too.

The anxious wait from the other communities who include the Ajuran and Ogaden clans is also drawn from the curiosity of who the 'anointed' governor will pick as his deputy among them.

In the spirit of sharing leadership in the county, the 'governor' is expected to pick someone outside his clan.

Picking a deputy governor may prove a headache. Factors that may influence the picking of a deputy governor may include the clan and what they bring on board especially the numbers and previous working relations.

There are potential names from the Ajuran clan that have been touted including Ibrahim Sheikh Mohamed who is eyeing the Wajir West Parliamentary seat and Adan Omar Enow who is also Trustee with the Water Services Trust Fund and the National Sports Fund.

The grapevine has it that Enow who will be graduating later this year in PHD in leadership and governance will once again contest for Senator. He had contested for the seat last time but lost to the current senator Abdirahman Hassan Olow.

Picking a candidate for the deputy governor position from the Ajuran come with its own dilemma.

For instance, while Ibrahim Sheikh commands the respect of the youths and the community for consistently being vocal on issues of the Ajuran clan in Wajir West and Wajir North constituencies, his interest to contest for Wajir West Parliamentary seat complicates matters.

The Ajuran crucial role in the county is profound because the community is known to vote as a block.

While the Fai can pick a candidate for the running mate from the Ogaden clan, the community has not clearly come out to declare their interest whether they will be interested for the same or hold on to the county senator post they are holding through senator Olow.

On the other hand there is talk of the Ajuran and Ogaden clans forming an alliance to come up with a single candidate for the Gubenetorial seat.

This alliance, however, portends a dilema since the Makabul, Mohamed Zuber and Bageri subclans who form the larger Ogaden community are historically known to be split during voting.

While technically an alliance between Ogadena and Ajuran can give the Fai a run for their money during the actual voting, the disunity among the Ogaden is an issue that will prove a headache to solve.