Friday, 28 July 2017
Of Team Shuluq, Jiir's uphill re-election battle and other stories
All indications are that the Wajir gubernatorial contest is a two horse race. As in 2013, the race for Wajir's governorship is between Ahmed Abdullahi, now the incumbent, and Ambassador Mohamed Abdi aka Mwalimu.
The outgoing Kenya's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Amb Mohamed Abdi, is pulling out all the stops to unseat Gov Ahmed Abdulahi - a man many hail as the most progressive governor in the restive north since devolution came to be.
Going by his age, many believe that Mohamed Abdi, just like Raila, has one last bullet to win the governorship. But unlike that of Raila, the good ambassador's last bullet is not a blank! This time round Mwalimu's magazine seems fully loaded.
Mohamed Abdi, a former MP for Wajir East and a powerful minister in the Moi regime is mounting a well oiled campaign that has the support of Wajir's power brokers and influence-peddlers, majority of whom were in Jiir's camp in the last elections.
Popularly known as Jiir, a rat in the local dialect, Ahmed Abdullahi is the first governor of Wajir county under the new dispensation. Elected on an ODM ticket in the 2013 elections, Jiir has overseen the transformation of Wajir county for the better. Infrastructural projects initiated by Jiir's administration like the Sh1.6 billion 28KM tarmac road is the first in the county since independence.
Sycophancy and the clan mindset aside, Jiir has done better than any other governor in Northern Kenya. Wajir is the only county in NEP with a fully fledged county Headquarters.
Even international institutions like the World Bank have praised Wajir County's success in devolution and accelerating growth in the county. Wajir has allocated more than 58 per cent of its budget to development unlike other counties.
Same as many parts of the country, - if not all - this contest will be determined by clan arithmetic rather than what Jiir did as a governor. Whether the Amb is good enough to replace Jiir is not even a topic for discussion because the restive North is so fixated with stupid clan bullshit.
Wajir county has six constituencies. All the current MPs from Wajir -except Mohamed Fai, Dakalow and one Ore -are seeking reelection and none of them is supporting Jiir's reelection. Jiir is counting on the support of Wajir West but prophets of doom have been salivating at the prospect of a fallout between the West and the Governor. It's therefore safe to assume that Jiir is running a one-man-show campaign. This is Jiir's Waterloo. Unlike Mohamed Abdi - who after a lifetime in politics has no real enemies, thus a uniting figure — Ahmed Jiir has made very many enemies in his short stint 5-year career in politics. These political enemies will do everything they can to keep him from winning.
Governor Ahmed Jiir might have succeeded administration-wise but political pundits argue that he has failed to steer the political leadership of the county. It's one thing to be an administrator, it's quite another thing to be a politician. A cerebral, self-proclaimed policy wonk in a county known for colorful politicians, Ahmed Jiir wants to be seen as the energized “outsider” candidate, raging (politely) against the machine. His campaign is a full-frontal assault on the institutionalized, local power-broker world of Wajir politics. Nevertheless, Team Shulug is brimming with confidence. They describe Jiir and his regime as liars and thieves. And they are, as they say in their political rallies, ready to send him to the political dustbin.
The big question remains; will Ahmed Jiir be a one term governor??