A gubernatorial aspirant in Wajir has vowed to defy clan elders in seeking for the county’s top job in 2022 General Election after the elders reneged on their earlier plan to back him.
Mr Ugas Sheikh Mohamed on Monday at a press conference expressed his disappointment with the elders but vowed to go ahead and seek support from the people without the blessings of the elders.
Mr Mohamed accused the Sultanate of betraying him despite agreeing to step down in in favour of the former governor, Mohamed Abdi in 2017
The Sultanate consists of 14 elders from each of the Fai clan. For the last one month, they have been assessing three candidates namely Hassan Wehliye, Hassan Mohamed and Sheikh Mohammed and settled on Mr Wehliye on Sunday, a decision that Mr Mohamed has rejected saying it was compromised
Mr Mohamed who has rejected the outcome of the assessment is a US trained IT guru and businessman, Mr Wehliye is the Coast regional boss of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) while Dr Mohamed is a proprietor of Nairobi South Hospital.
“It is quite unfortunate and indeed unacceptable that the membership of the sultanate whom the community bestowed trust betrayed the trust both in 2016 and in this instance," Mohamed said.
“The agreement of 2017 was deliberately and shamelessly disowned by the Sultanate in this process despite our several requests that they put the terms of the said agreement into consideration in determining the community’s gubernatorial candidate,” he added.
Mr Mohamed termed the process as unfair, arbitrary, irrational and entirely based on monetary and non-monetary considerations and lacks merit.
“The criteria used to pick the candidate is unknown. This corrupt and illegitimate process cannot yield legitimate outcomes of value to Wajir people,” Mr Mohamed said.
He said the injustice committed by the Sultanate denies the people of Wajir County the leadership they deserve and can only be addressed and corrected through popular democracy and the ballot.
“In view of the foregoing grievances and after extensively consulting with my supporters, I made a firm decision to proceed with my campaigns with a view to capture the seat of the governor of Wajir County in the forthcoming 2022 General Election,” Mr Mohamed said.
Clan elders in North-eastern region have been powerful political influencers as aspirants seek their approval and endorsement to stand any chance of winning.
For ages, the elders have largely been the ones making political decisions on behalf of the people and determining who vies for crucial positions during elections.
In the infamous negotiated democracy, political seats are rotated among the sub-clans every five years.
Mr Mohamed now joins the league of the current Mandera Governor Ali Roba who in 2017 defied the elders and went ahead to retain his seat by flooring elders' choice Mr Hassan.
In that election, Mr Roba garnered 71,890 votes against Mr Hassan’s 62,769 votes.
He petitioned Governor Roba’s election but later withdrew the court case.
Governor Roba, who defied the elders’ decree barring him from seeking re-election in 2017 after his first term, has since reconciled with the council.
He rallied other clans to vote him in after his own Garre clan disowned him for ‘disrespecting the elders”.