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Elders kick out elected Mandera leaders in power sharing deal ahead of 2017 polls

COUNTIES
By Adow jubat | August 11th 2016
Mandera Senator Billow Kerrow. A powerful clan in Mandera has applied a new model of ‘negotiated democracy’ which will send home all the 24 elected leaders and seeks to dismantle political dynasties and fiefdoms. (PHOTO: COURTESY)

A powerful clan in Mandera has applied a new model of ‘negotiated democracy’ which will send home all the 24 elected leaders and seeks to dismantle political dynasties and fiefdoms. 

The model, propagated by the Garre Council of Elders, has declared that Governor Ali Roba, Senator Billow Kerrow and four MPs Mohamed Huka (Mandera South), Mohamed Abdi Haji (Banissa), Mohamud Mohamed (Mandera West) and Aden Mohamed Noor (Mandera North) are ineligible for re-election.

The decision also affects Mandera Woman Representative Fathia Mahbub. Also barred by the clan’s decision are 18 electedelected MCAs. They are Robow Hassan, Faizal Abdinoor,  Issack Dahir, Ahmed Abdi ibrahim, Dasta Ali Kulan, Mohamed Ibrahim, Abdilatif Ahmed Harrow, Ibrahim Wario, and Issack Abdow.

Others are Aden Karow, Hussein Ali Haji, Alinoor Hassan, Yakub Emoy, Hadi Madey, Aden Abdirahman, Shabure Ahmeddin, and Kala Ahmed Abdinoor. The leaders were elected on URP, TNA and Safina party tickets.

Following the clan’s decision, Mr Kerrow yesterday announced that he would abide by the verdict and called on his colleagues to respect the same.

If replicated in other parts of the country, this mode of negotiated democracy would dismantle political dynasties, which have seen some personalities and families cling to power for generations, denying others a chance to lead their constituencies.

Also, Woman Representative Mahabub has thrown in the towel and chosen to abide by the decision of the elders.

When contacted, Mahabub responded with a short text: “The verdict is okay, I fully accept.” However, Governor Roba has rejected the move, saying the decision by the elders was not binding.

“It is inconceivable for all elected leaders to drop out of the race, the Council of Elders has gone too far in exercising its authority,” declared the governor.

Roba said he will still contest in the 2017 elections. “We have a complete line up under my leadership. It is not fair to shove people aside despite their experience, so we leaders will still run,” Roba said.

Kerrow explained that being a product of the same rotational system, he had no option but to respect the decision of elders.

“This model of rotation of key political seats within the community was agreed upon in a community charter signed by all the 20 sub-clans in 2012,” he said.

He added: “I totally support the decision of the council, which represents the views of the larger community that has expressly stated its preference for a ‘negotiated democracy’ between its various components in order to enhance internal equity, and unity of the community.”

He went on to say: “Pursuant to this decision, I shall not be seeking any elective post in Mandera County in the coming 2017 election.”

The senator urged the other elected leaders “affected by the resolution to accept the decision of the council for the larger interest of the community, and step down gracefully”.

He however said that he would continue discharging his mandate until his term ends in 2017. “I shall continue to execute my mandate in representing the residents of Mandera County in the Senate, and to exercise oversight role over the county government,” he stated.

Rotational leadership

Yesterday, the council cautioned leaders against questioning its verdict to rotate leadership among the 20 Garre community sub-clans.

The elders noted that the decision was informed by the wishes of the community.

The council, which has been sitting in the border town of Banisa from last week to draw the line-up for the forthcoming general elections, said the proposal was based on the wishes of majority members of the community.

Speaking on behalf of the 20-member council, Ugaas Mohamednur Salo said the council was disappointed by comments attributed to Governor Roba appearing in a section of the press, which dismissed the verdict as undemocratic.

The council maintained the decision was binding and that the incumbent leaders, who were affected by the rotational system of sharing the elective positions, should appreciate that they were holding their current positions courtesy of the elders’ endorsement.

The Garre community, due to its numerical strength, enjoys four of the six parliamentary seats, the governor, and the woman representative and senator position. They also have 18 out of 30 MCAs.

“Nobody in Mandera knew about Roba before the 2013 General Election. He got elected to his current position because of the endorsement of the same council of elders he is dismissing now as undemocratic. Will the elders become irrelevant and undemocratic now that he (Roba) has tasted power?” he asked.

Mr Salo said the council will talk to all incumbent leaders who may be unhappy with their decision in a bid to encourage sharing of positions among various sub-clans so that they understand the bigger picture, instead of concentrating on their personal thirst for power.

He said the council and the community appreciate all the outgoing elected leaders for their commendable achievement in making Mandera an enviable county despite various challenges posed by insecurity.

Harsh voters

“Any leader who defies the elders’ decision, even after further engagement with him, shall meet the harsh voters, who are in support of the verdict. The council was established to guide the community interest and nobody, notwithstanding their status or position in the society, can challenge its decision,” he said.

He noted that the various Garre sub-clans had until August 11 to submit names of their preferred candidates for the slots given to them.

“Each sub-clan will forward five names from which each position will be filled. For example Asare sub-clan, who are supposed to take the gubernatorial slot, will submit five names from which the council will investigate for suitability and pick the best,” he said.

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