The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) is finding itself in a tight corner after the High Court reinstated at least two aspirants whose nomination certificates had been nullified by the party.
ODM had changed its political line-up in Mandera immediately after the Jubilee Party issued nomination certificates to its preferred candidates in the county.
At least three political groupings were seeking the Jubilee ticket but the team led by Mr Adan Mohamed carried the day against teams allied to Mr Mohamed Maalim and Mr Faisal Abass.
Jubilee primary losers
Both Mr Maalim (current Mandera senator) and Mr Abass immediately announced their support for Mr Hassan Noor Hassan of ODM. But what caused trouble in the Orange party was the incorporation of Jubilee primary losers.
Mr Hassan dropped Mr Musdaf Hussein Abdullahi as his running mate and picked Mr Mohamed Hussein Ali, alias Mohamed Qaras.
Mr Qaras was Mr Mohamed Maalim’s running mate with whom he had lost the Jubilee ticket.
Also in the ODM line-up, Ms Fatuma Somo was replaced by Ms Ubah Abdi Ibrahim, alias Ubah Gedi, for the woman representative’s position.
Ms Deka Ali Khala was another casualty as she was replaced by Mr Hussein Mohamed Abdirahman, alias Hussein Weytan, for the Mandera East parliamentary seat.
All the substitutes were from Senator Maalim’s line-up and it remained unclear whether there was any political agreement reached on the matter.
Meant to strengthen party
Reached for comment, Mandera County ODM branch chairman Yussuf Maalim Hassan, alias Nusu Kilo, confirmed the changes in the team, stating that it was meant to strengthen it.
“We made changes that are about having a strong team that will win seats in Mandera. All the newcomers in the team command good support on the ground and that is what we are looking for in every candidate,” he said.
Mr Hassan said the changes were sanctioned by the party leadership at the national level, which has the power to issue and withdraw nomination certificates.
There was drama outside the Mandera East Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) centre on Sunday when Mr Weytan arrived for clearance.
He came with a team of his supporters, who kept vigil outside the centre as he was being cleared.
The group blocked Mandera East MP Omar Maalim from entering the centre on the allegation that he was there to deliver a court order on behalf of the disgruntled Ms Khala.
Mr Weytan was later cleared by Mr Mohamud Mohamed Olow, the Mandera East elections coordinator, to run for Mandera East parliamentary seat on an ODM ticket.
Just as Mr Weytan was being cleared, Justice Joseph Sergon ordered ODM to declare Ms Khala as the only validly nominated candidate for Mandera East per the nomination certificate dated April 20, 2022.
Mr Weytan was issued with a direct nomination certificate two days later as the ODM candidate for Mandera East, a day after losing the Jubilee ticket.
Before the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal (PPDT), ODM and Mr Weytan denied that there was any nomination by universal suffrage and averred that it was the decision of ODM to directly nominate the Mandera East candidate.
Null and void
The PPDT declared the nomination of Mr Weytan null and void because it was issued contrary to the principles of fair administrative action.
The tribunal issued an order barring the IEBC from accepting or registering and or gazetting Mr Weytan as a candidate for Mandera East under ODM.
Ms Khala moved to court, alleging that the tribunal erred in law and fact in directing ODM to conduct fresh nominations in Mandera East.
She also claimed that the tribunal had failed to hold that Mr Weytan was ineligible to contest the Mandera East seat as a result of party hopping from Jubilee to ODM.
In response, Mr Weytan admitted that Ms Khala was issued with a certificate but it was rescinded on April 21 by the ODM central committee.
Revoking nomination certificate
He argued that the law does not provide that in direct nominations, a party cannot revoke the issued nomination certificate.
“I have carefully re-evaluated the evidence that was presented before the tribunal. It is evidence of the appellant that she participated in the party nominations conducted on April 20, 2022 and [was] awarded a nomination certificate which has not been challenged,” Justice Sergon said before ruling that Ms Khala was the valid ODM candidate for Mandera East.
While disputing the selection of Ms Ubah Gedi as her replacement, Ms Fatuma Somo blamed ODM director of elections Junet Mohamed for her political troubles.
“All these [machinations] were orchestrated by Junet Mohamed through his sister, who is married to our gubernatorial candidate. We need fairness in ODM and every aspirant should be left to freely campaign and win seats,” she said.
Ms Somo, armed with a court order barring the clearance of Ms Gedi, was turned away by Mandera County elections coordinator Adan Harar.
Mr Harar asked Ms Somo to serve the IEBC headquarters and not the county IEBC office.
Ms Somo is yet to be cleared as the process is set to begin on Thursday in Mandera for woman representative aspirants.
On Thursday, the High Court will also deliver a judgment against Mr Qaras as Mr Hassan Noor Hassan’s running mate.
Mr Musdaf Hussein Abdullahi has disputed his replacement as the running mate of the ODM governor candidate in Mandera County.