All eyes on Borana elders in Isiolo governorship race

Borana elders Isiolo

Borana Council of Elders Chairperson Abdullahi Gonjobe (centre) with other elders during a past meeting. The elders are expected to announce their preferred gubernatorial candidate for the Isiolo County seat.

Photo credit: Waweru Wairimu | Nation Media Group

Borana elders have a critical decision to make in breaking the stalemate in the Isiolo gubernatorial race that has attracted a competition between former and current county bosses.

As campaigns gain momentum in Isiolo, majority of the residents are anxiously waiting to know who the Borana Council of Elders will endorse to battle it out with Governor Mohamed Kuti in the August General Elections.

The tens of elders from all the 10 wards have been holding a series of meetings in Kinna, Garbatulla in the last one week to pick aspirants to represent the community in various elective positions.

The elders have already settled on former County Assembly Speaker Mohammed Tupi and Mohammed Ibrahim Nur, both who had expressed interest in Isiolo South MP’s seat, to vie for MP and senator positions respectively.

The council recently announced that they will pick a gubernatorial candidate from the Warjida clan that former governor Godana Doyo hails from.

Four aspirants

The Nation is reliably informed that the elders had before the onset of the meetings narrowed down to four aspirants for the seat after two were dropped. But an appeal was lodged by Hussein Tene and Mohammed Huka Jaldesa.

The chairman of the elders’ council, Abdullahi Gonjobe earlier told Nation.Africa that only Mr Doyo or Mathei Yunis had survived to the last stage and either of them will be picked to contest against Governor Kuti.

“We have so far concluded Isiolo South and senator seats which we have given to Mr Tupi and Mr Nur. We hope to complete the governor case by the end of business tomorrow (Monday),” Mr Gonjobe said Sunday.

Political analysts say the choice of a governorship candidate will work for or against the vote-rich community, with Mr Doyo seen as the strongest challenger to Dr Kuti.

Endorsing little-known Yunis will be outright political suicide and would work to the advantage of the incumbent governor who has not lost in the last four elections.

Mr Doyo is allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta and has on several occasions been spotted with Agriculture CS Peter Munya, sending signals that he might vie on the Party of National Unity.

Ex-EACC boss Halakhe Waqo, who was recently given the greenlight by his Karayu clan of the Borana community, has maintained that he will be on the ballot with or without the elders’ endorsement.

Financial muscle

His being in the race, analysts say, will complicate chances for the Borana-endorsed candidate due to his financial muscle and recent change of heart by Devolution CAS Abdul Bahari to withdraw his quest for Isiolo South MP’s seat and his immediate selection to be Karayu’s supremo is seen as a way to slow Mr Waqo’s inroads.

Also pending is the selection of a candidate for woman rep’s seat, currently being sought by Nominated MCA Mumina Konso, Education CAS Mumina Bonaya and incumbent Rehema Jaldesa.

Sources intimated to the Nation that Isiolo North MP Hassan Odha will get an endorsement to seek a re-election. The quest for the same position by Mr Abdi Wario has raised some concerns with the elders, which are reportedly being handled.

Whoever is picked will face it off with former MP Joseph Samal, businessman-cum-politician Mwenda Thuranira, Abdilatif Abdi Boru, Lucy Mworia and Nominated Senator Abshiro Halakhe.

Mr Samal is perceived to be the incumbent's main challenger.


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