Why NEP plays significant role in Jubaland politics

Abdi Ali Rage is one of the Presidential Candidates in Jubaland. He has been making inroads in Kenya's Northeastern region. [Abdimalik Hajir, Standard]

Northeastern Kenya plays a crucial role in the elections of Jubaland, as politicians gather in the region to garner support and establish strong backing from the local community.

Analysts argue Garissa plays a central role in the larger Ogaden community, a reason also elections of Ethiopia's Ogaden region's elections have their base in the county.

Abdi Ali Rage, a Former senior advisor for ex-Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmojo has been making inroads in Kenya's Garissa County in his bid to unseat Ahmed Mohamed Islam also known as Ahmed Madobe.

"We do our campaigns here because we believe someone has an upper hand when he has support here, they have a greater influence on their relatives across the border," he said in an interview with The Standard yesterday.

He said many residents living in the county have their relatives across and by getting their support on the Kenyan (Garissa) soil he will have an upper hand in the contest.

Rage has been busy meeting local elders in Garissa and Nairobi who are perceived to have influence in the semi-autonomous region whose power seat is in the port city of Kismayu.

He said while most of the candidates have been away in the diaspora, he has been working in the region for the last 30 years and therefore understands the challenges and if elected would resolve them easily.

"Our biggest problem today is security if elected the security problem can be fought by bringing all clans in the region together and having them at the decision-making table so as for them to have a sense of ownership," he said.

Jubaland is an autonomous region in southern Somalia, its eastern border lies 40-60 km east of the Jubba River and stretches from Gedo to the Indian Ocean, while its western side flanks the North Eastern region of Kenya.

Kenya also plays a significant role in not only Jubaland administration but also the federal government.

"What we are lacking is strong institutions that are felt in every village in the region, that is what I am intending to do should I be elected," he said.

Rage said if elected as the next leader of the Jubaland region he will closely work with the federal government noting that he is a firm believer in the unity of Somalia as a country.

Working with the Kenyan administration he noted is as he will push for stronger security collaborations for both countries, which he said will easily help in containing Al-Shabaab militants that have claimedthe lives of civilians and security officials.

Ahmed Mohamed Madobe has been Jubaland state's president since its establishment in 2013. In 2019, Ahmed was elected for a third term, four years, but the state lawmakers extended him another year, the election is slated later this year after the one year extension.