Senator Dullo in hot duel with man who lost Jubilee ticket to her

Fatuma Dullo

Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dullo who is seeking re-election on Jubilee Party ticket. 

Photo credit: Waweru Wairimu I Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

The battle for the Isiolo Senate seat has intensified into a fierce contest between Senator Fatuma Dullo, who is flying President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party ticket, and new entrant Nuh Mohamed Ibrahim, an independent candidate.

Ms Dullo is the only woman in the race that has attracted four candidates, including outgoing Isiolo Speaker Hussein Roba, who trailed the legislator in the 2017 elections with 14,395 votes and Deputy Governor Abdi Issa, who is making his first stab at the seat under PNU.

The Senate deputy majority leader’s bid got a major boost after one of her competitors, Augostino Ikiara Lokitela, recently withdrew from the race and rallied his Turkana community and supporters to vote for her in the August elections.

After serving as a nominated senator under the United Republic Party from 2013-2017, Ms Dullo gunned for the elective seat under the Party for Development and Reform (PDR), defeating four men, including Jubilee’s Mohammed Liban, who emerged third with 12,139 votes. She became the first and only female senator from the North Eastern region in the 12th Parliament.

Political alignments

Candidates’ track records, financial ability to mount campaigns, political alignments and ethnicity may have a bearing on the outcome of the August 9 elections.

There is a high possibility that Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition presidential candidate Raila Odinga, who is leading in popularity according to recent polls, could garner more votes than his Kenya Kwanza competitor William Ruto as all the four candidates are supporting his bid.

Mr Nuh, who unsuccessfully contested the Isiolo South MP seat in 2017, has teamed up with former governor Godana Doyo, Isiolo South MP candidate Mohammed Tubi (Jubilee), Woman Rep Rehema Jaldesa and Isiolo North MP Hassan Odha, the latter two seeking reelection on independent tickets.

Senator Dullo has in her camp Jubilee’s Nairobi County Assembly majority leader and governor hopeful Abdi Ibrahim Hassan, former Education CAS Mumina Bonaya, who is seeking to dislodge Ms Jaldesa, and former Isiolo North MP Joseph Samal.

Among the issues dominating campaigns are land, water, roads, electricity, insecurity, youth unemployment and the fight against graft.
Campaigns will be concentrated in Isiolo North, whose seven wards of Bulapesa, Wabera, Burat, Ngaremara, Oldonyiro, Chari and Cherab account for 75 percent of the county’s total votes.

Whoever bags a huge chunk of the 67,323 votes in the constituency will likely seal victory in the August elections. The county has 89,504 total registered voters, according to the latest data from the electoral agency.

Ibrahim Nuh

Isiolo Senate candidate Nuh Mohammed Ibrahim who is seeking to dislodge Senator Fatuma Dullo in the August elections. The Independent candidate says he will undertake oversight in a democratic manner and will not be combative if elected. 

Photo credit: Waweru Wairimu I Nation Media Group

The 56-year-old is banking on her development track record as nominated and elected senator and her vast experience in the public sector and civil society to retain the seat.

Community land

She cites increased power connectivity, installation of network masts in Bassa, Korbesa and Biliqo and the drilling and equipping of 12 boreholes across the county among her achievements that she says have transformed the lives of voters.

Ms Dullo also takes credit, alongside other leaders, for the government’s decision to return to the community land occupied by two military camps in Isiolo – the 78 Tank Battalion and the School of Combat Engineering in Gambela and Ngaremara, respectively.

“The President has already issued a directive to have the KDF School of Infantry in Burat ward relocated and the onus lies with the county government to expedite the allocation of alternative land so that residents can get back their thousands of acres of land,” she said.

“I have effectively discharged my oversight role, lobbied for several projects and youth employment at the national level, articulated issues affecting our people in the Senate and have been available to listen to the issues affecting the mwananchi.”

Unlike in the 2017 elections, when she teamed up with Mr Doyo and received overwhelming support from his Borana community, Ms Dullo is now banking on her Sakuye community votes and other communities as a majority of the Borana are leaning towards Mr Nuh.

Mr Nuh, an economics graduate, also enjoys significant support from the Somali community, while Ms Dullo has endeared herself more to the Turkana, Samburu, Ameru and other minority communities.

Borana community

On claims by Ms Dullo that Mr Nuh was destined to lose like he did in 2017, he says he has the full backing of the Borana community, the largest voting bloc in the county, and enjoys huge support from the Somali ethnic group, where Mr Doyo’s running mate Omar Hassan hails from.

“I was a political novice in 2017 and had not been endorsed by my clan, let alone the Borana community. The community is now well organised and I am its sole nominee for the seat, giving me a strong foundation to [beat] the incumbent,” he said.

Mr Nuh, who is part of the Isiolo Super Alliance political grouping, is pegging his campaign on the need for change in governance and promises to focus on increased allocations to the county, and lobbying for more development and employment of residents in State corporations and commissions.

“I will ensure county funds are prudently used for the intended purpose so that we can realise more development, lobby for water projects to address perennial shortages and seek a lasting solution to insecurity,” he said.

His leadership, he said, will also ensure employment and business opportunities from the county government are evenly distributed across all the communities for improved livelihoods.

Mr Nuh accused Senator Dullo of being too combative in her oversight role on Governor Mohamed Kuti’s administration and claimed she had not met the expectations of Isiolo residents.

“She (Dullo) has only been playing to the gallery and does not apply diplomatic demeanour in public. Whenever they differ, a senator and a governor should sit down and iron out their differences to ensure residents benefit from their leadership,” he said.

The outspoken Ms Dullo has been Dr Kuti’s harshest critic and has repeatedly accused him of abetting graft, and has not shied away from speaking out her mind on the running of the devolved government.

A recent report by Trends and Insights Africa (Tifa) showed that Mr Nuh was trailing Senator Dullo at 26 percent against the incumbent’s 47 percent, with Mr Roba of Kanu at four percent.

True representation

While Mr Nuh has trashed last week’s findings as doctored and not a true representation of the situation on the ground, Ms Dullo said the results reflected reality. She exuded confidence that she would defeat him with a huge margin and with more votes than she garnered in the 2017 elections.

“I am the one who stands the better chance to lobby for more government projects and ensure completion of the ongoing ones than a new entrant because I know how to and where to lobby,” she said, adding that she would push for the creation of more administrative units if reelected.

On whether his association with Mr Doyo would affect his oversight if the two clinched the seats they are eyeing, Mr Nuh said: “We do not come from the same clan but are in the same alliance to help each other get elected. I am not Doyo’s subordinate and will function effectively and properly but will not be combative. I will support the governor on good programmes for our people and correct him when he errs.”

Senator Dullo has been accused several times of preaching water but taking wine for previously telling residents not to elect a Senate hopeful who teams up with a governor candidate while she had teamed up with Mr Ibrahim, who is also vying under Jubilee.

But she insisted that if both are elected, she will uphold professionalism and that she “won’t keep quiet when things go wrong” as her work is to protect the interests of Isiolo residents.

District officer

Mr Nuh has a master’s degree in strategic management and previously worked with KCB Bank and served as the IEBC head of risk and compliance, and senior compliance officer at the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF).

“I am well versed on how to deal with issues related to fund management in the county owing to my vast experience in management and auditing,” he said.

Senator Dullo, who started her career in the public sector as a district officer (DO) in Lamu, previously worked as a legal adviser to the UNDP and assistant secretary in the Ministry of Health. She was also a member of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR).

She made history in 1989 when she became the first female DO from the Borana community aged 22.

Dr Issa, who has had a bone to chew with his boss in the last four years, maintains that he would undertake thorough oversight on the next governor if elected.

The PNU candidate recently said his quest was prompted by the desire to ensure prudent use of public resources and prevent wastage that continued to deny residents crucial services and development.

Public resources

Amid challenges in his office, including the slashing of his budget by Governor Kuti, Dr Issa said he had earned experience crucial in undertaking the oversight, representation and legislative roles of a senator.

“You all know he (Kuti) locked me out of the government that we jointly formed. I want to go to the Senate to protect public resources that have been misused. I know where things have gone wrong and I will seal the loopholes,” he told a gathering recently in Isiolo town.

The deputy governor said he would lobby for water projects for residents in far-flung areas to address shortages and ensure they have enough supply for domestic and livestock use.

Reports indicate that Mr Roba, an underdog in the race, is considering bolting out of the race over alleged growing pressure from his Borana community.

Senator Dullo has repeatedly accused him of turning a blind eye to alleged misuse of funds and lack of oversight on the county executive by ward reps during his tenure as Speaker.


Ms Lauryn Nairoti, a resident of Wabera ward, said Isiolo needs a transparent, honest and peace-loving senator who will fairly serve all communities without favouritism on tribal or religious lines.

“We want a leader who will ensure all the communities in Isiolo remain united and get quality services and development for improved livelihoods,” she said.

She trashed party influence on the outcome of polls, saying residents were more enlightened and would vote for personalities and not parties.

Mohammed Huka, a resident of Kambi Garba, said the candidate with the best agenda would win.

“Besides their track record and agenda, their personality will also determine whether people vote for them or not,” he said.

The candidates have called for political tolerance and promised to undertake peaceful campaigns.


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