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How Abdul Haji romped home unopposed

NORTH EASTERN
By Abdimalik Hajir | April 1st 2021
Garissa Senate nominee Abdulkadir Mohamed Haji. [Boniface Okendo,Standard]

Powerful political figures, as well as local elders, worked behind the scenes to ensure Abdul Haji is elected unopposed for the Garissa senate seat, we can now reveal the intrigues.

The Standard has learned several people had shown interest in the seat but were immediately prevailed upon by their respective clan elders to step down.

In the advent of devolution, councils of elders have become powerful, sometimes summoning key political figures, they have also been used in lobbying for jobs and other issues in the northern counties.

In the Somali community, they also play a pivotal role not only in dispute resolution amongst communities shaping political agenda but deeply involved in the elections in the region.

In the run-up to 2017 elections, politicians in Garissa intending to vie for several seats were asked to apply to the council of elders in an informal move that saw elders coming up candidates who will face off their rivals from other clans.

Abduwak and Samawathal clan came together to share seats before formed the Tolomoge Alliance that saw them sweeping all the major seats under Jubilee ticket, in the arrangement Ali Korane and Anab Gure from Abduwak will go gubernatorial and Women rep seat while Samawathal will front senate and Deputy Governor position.

After the death of Garissa Senator, Mohamed Yussuf Haji and subsequent selection of his Son Abdul clan elders were mobilised to endorse him in what leaders say was in respect of the late senator and long-time administrator who died on February 15.

Since his endorsement, political leaders from different political and clan affiliations were involved to ensure there is no competitor in the senate by-election slated on May 18th.

While some political players met with individual candidates others were involved in convincing political parties that have initially fronted candidates to shelf their ambitions in favour of Haji.

Both former and current Governor Nathif Jama and Ali Korane who represent the count’s political antagonism have been with Abdul Haji in what commentators say is to appeal to his Samawathal backyard in the 2022 general election.

After he was handed over his nomination certificate on Monday, Abdul, who is remembered for his courage and acts of heroism during a terrorist attack at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, said he will work with all leaders for the betterment of the county.

“I’m overwhelmed by your support for coming out in larger numbers. I promise to never let you down and work towards transforming our county,” he told locals who gathered at the nomination venue.

According to IEBC county returning officer Hussein Gure no one has turned up to challenge Abdul Haji in the by-election whose deadline for submission was on Tuesday evening.

The IEBC county boss said they will have to notify the commission’s headquarters who will give guidance on the same.

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