Wajir County Governor Mohamed Abdi Mohamud has withdrawn from the race to defend his seat with only six days to the elections set for Tuesday next week.
In a statement, Mr Mohamud said he was withdrawing from the race after considering a number of factors. While he did explain the factors that pushed him to drop his bid, he announced that he was withdrawing in favour Ugas Sheikh Mohamed.
“I wish to inform the People of Wajir County and Kenyans at large that after making wide consultations and considering a number of factors, I wish to withdraw from the 2022 Wajir County Gubernatorial race in favour of Mr. Ugas Sheikh Mohamed,” he said.
Mr Mohamed is vying on an ANC ticket in the Kenya Kwanza coalition.
Mr Mohamud, the second governor of Wajir county, suffered a setback in his political career back in April last year when Members of the Wajir County Assembly (MCAs) successfully impeached him, sending him out of office for at least nine months.
The ward reps had impeached him on allegations including misuse of public funds and abuse of office.
The Senate also found him guilty of gross violation of the Constitution.
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Mr Mohamud rushed to the courts but it was until May when a Meru High Court overturned his impeachment.
In a judgment, judges Justice Edward Muriithi, Patrick Jeremy Otieno and Thripsisa Cherere ruled that there was no public participation during the impeachment at the Wajir County Assembly.
While nullifying the impeachment process, the judges ruled that the motion filed by Tulatula MCA Abdullahi Issack at the county assembly was defective and should not have been debated.
The judges agreed the impeachment process was conducted in breach and disobedience of valid court orders that had stopped the Wajir ward reps from discussing the matter.
The former ambassador to Saudi Arabia asked residents of Wajir to carefully choose their next leader.
“As you are aware, there are so many other candidates who are vying for national and county positions. I wish to advise the electorate to be careful when electing candidates,” he said in a statement.
He added, “Chose leaders that meet the wishes and aspirations of the people of Wajir. In this regard, I wish to appeal to you not to elect candidates who in one way or other participated in destabilizing the running Wajir County”.
He listed Mr Ugas Sheikh as his preferred successor in Wajir, Mr Raila Odinga as the presidential candidate and Mr Abass Sheikh Mohamed as his preferred county senator.
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He thanked the local residents and Kenyans for allowing him the opportunity to serve in different capacities for the past fifty years.
“I wish to appeal to all Kenyans and residents of Wajir to exercise restraint and have a peaceful election. I also urge IEBC to conduct free, fair, transparent, credible and verifiable elections,” he concluded.
Mr Mohamed Noor, a resident of Wajir welcomed the withdrawal terming it less effective in next week’s election.
“After all the drama Wajir has suffered under Governor Mohamud’s reign, he could not get votes. He realized the ground is slippery and his only option was to bolt out. He was impeached by a few MCAs but the voting block was going to reject him as well,” Mr Noor said.