Senator Roba-backed candidate wins Mandera Speaker's race unopposed

Mandera County Assembly Speaker Omar

Mr Omar Mohamed Maalim, the former Mandera East MP after he was elected Mandera County Assembly Speaker on September 22, 2022. He pledged to lead the oversight role without fear or favour.

Photo credit: Manase Otsialo I Nation Media Group

Former Mandera East MP Omar Mohamed Maalim was elected unopposed as the county assembly Speaker by consensus.

Mr Maalim (UDM) lost in the parliamentary seat to Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) candidate Hussein Weytan.

For over a month now, the Senator Ali Roba-led UDM has been holding meetings in an attempt to reward its candidates who lost in the August 9 elections.

During the campaigns, Mr Roba promised Mr Mohamed Aftin the Speaker’s position and prevailed upon him to shelve his parliamentary ambition for Mr Maalim.

The goalpost changed again for Mr Aftin after Mr Maalim lost the seat, and it remains unclear what position the politician will be given in the Mandera County government.

Mr Maalim, who defended his seat under UDM, received 9,451 votes against winner Hussein Weitan’s (ODM) 11,645.

Negotiated democracy was applied though Mr Roba had dismissed it during political campaigns.

“Politicians will always go for what will favour them and ignore what members of the public will want,” said Mr Hassan Sheikh, a resident of Mandera. 

“UDM has always been against negotiated democracy but we see them apply what they campaigned against.”

Immediately after overseeing the swearing-in of members of the county assembly (MCAs), assembly Clerk Ahmed Surrow announced that only one candidate for Speaker had returned his nomination papers.

Abdille Yusuf

Wajir Speaker Abdille Yusuf addressing the press after his election.

Photo credit: Edwin Kipsang I Nation Media Group

“Upon closure of the nomination period, Mr Ibrahim Barre and Mr Ali Alio Mohamed did not return their papers and therefore are not participating in the election of the Speaker,” Mr Surrow said.

Only Mr Maalim was the only one who returned his nomination forms.

“I hereby confirm that a list showing the qualified candidate was publicised and the same was [provided] to all members,” he said.

Standing Order 12, he said, states that if there is only one candidate duly nominated for election as Speaker at the expiry of nomination period, that person will be declared winner without any ballot or vote being required.

With the above communication from the clerk, there was no voting but a declaration that Mr Maalim was duly elected Speaker.

Mr Roba congratulated Mr Maalim on his election.

Meru Speaker Bundi

Meru speaker Ayub Bundi. The former Abothuguchi Central MCA served as majority leader and minority leader in the first and second assembly respectively.

Photo credit: David Muchui I Nation Media Group

In Wajir, Mr Abdille Yusuf won the Speaker position after garnering 42 votes, defeating his opponent Idris Abdi Abdillahi, who had only three votes.

Mr Yusuf thanked MCAs for trusting and electing him as their new Speaker.

Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdullahi also congratulated Mr Yusuf for the win.

In the Mt Kenya region, two candidates who were prevailed upon by President William Ruto not to contest parliamentary seats are among people who clinched Speaker positions.

Mr Johnson Mukuha and Mr James Gichuhi were eyeing the Kangema and Tetu parliamentary seats, respectively, but were trounced in United Democratic Alliance (UDA) nominations.

Mr Mukuha and Mr Gichuhi were elected overwhelmingly by MCAs to clinch the Murang’a and Nyeri Speaker’s seats, respectively.

Mr Mukuha, an architect, was defeated in the primaries by Mr Peter Kihungi, who went ahead to clinch the seat.

Mr Gichuhi, a lawyer, was beaten by Mr Geoffrey Wandeto during party nominations. When he announced he would run as an independent, Dr Ruto invited him to his residence in Karen, Nairobi, on April 21 and he was prevailed upon not to seek re-election.

The Nyeri Speaker’s seat was left vacant after Mr John Kaguchia, a lawyer, clinched the Mukurwe-ini parliamentary seat under UDA in the August 9 elections.

Josiah Thiriku

Embu County Assembly Speaker Josiah Thiriku who was re-lected despite a Court order in force.Mr Thiriku said he was not served with the order stopping him from defending his seat.

Photo credit: George Munene I Nation Media Group

Mr Gichuhi was elected Speaker after garnering 40 votes against Mr Patrick Mutahi’s two. A third candidate, Evans Irungu, did not receive any votes. The assembly has 30 elected MCAs and 12 nominated ones.

Mr Mukuha garnered 40 votes in the 47-member assembly.

In Mandera County, Derkale MCA Mohamed Ibrahim Edin UDM) clinched the deputy Speaker position.

In Kirinyaga, MCAs elected Mr Julius Murimi their new Speaker immediately after they took the oath of office in a colourful ceremony held at the assembly in Kerugoya town.

Sole rival

Assembly Clerk Kamau Ahidi declared Mr Murimi the winner after he polled 31 votes. His sole rival, Mr Joe Wagura, scored zero votes.

Mr Murimi took over the office from Anthony Gathumbi, who did not defend the seat.

Mutithi ward representative Njamumo Jinaro was elected deputy Speaker.

In Meru, former Abothuguchi Central MCA Ayub Bundi was elected Speaker.

Mr Bundi was declared winner in round two of voting after garnering 35 votes against Mr Rodgers Mpuru’s 34.

The new Speaker served two terms as MCA and was majority leader and minority leader in the first and second assemblies, respectively.

He won after a tight race that involved five candidates, including Marius Maranya, Anthony Mwenda and Mugambi Laichena.

Mr Bundi, a close ally of outgoing Agriculture CS Peter Munya, had previously set his eyes on becoming Mr Munya’s running mate in the Meru gubernatorial bid.

Speaking after taking the oath of office, Mr Bundi said his experience as MCA and majority and minority leader would enable him to steer the assembly forward.

“I will work with the governor and other elected leaders to ensure we realise the dreams of the people of Meru. We should put an end to petty rivalry that slowed down the previous administration,” Mr Bundi said.

The Speaker is also an ally of Governor Kawira Mwangaza.

BY MANASE OTSIALO, MWANGI MUIRURI, JAMES MURIMI, GEORGE MUNENE, DAVID MUCHUI and EDWIN KIPSANG

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