Wednesday, 1 June 2022

None Of The Current NEP Governors Deserve Re-election.

As gubernatorial candidates and other political aspirants jostle for power in northeastern, it’s important to note that the region has not witnessed any meaningful development since the advent of devolution despite reports on how the national government has disbursed money to counties since devolution began in 2013 showing previously marginalized counties have gained the most. 





Mandera, Wajir and Garissa - some of the the biggest beneficiaries in relative terms - have received close to a combined Sh250 billion over the last nine or so years. This region previously bore the brunt of the centralized system that had been in place from independence in 1963 to 2013, when devolved units were formed.

So why is the region still lagging behind? It’s therefore safe to say Mandera, Wajir and Garissa have been marginalized by their governors and the privileged few that fly almost every day between Nairobi and NEP powered by devolved corruption. 


A recent governance poll focusing on the 47 governors' development and approval ratings ranked Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi as the worst performing governor. Likewise both Mandera and Garissa governors were in the bottom ten of the list. Yet Ai Bunow and Ambassador Mohamed Abdi are seeking reelection while Mandera’s Roba wants to ‘downgrade’ to a Senator so as to ‘protect’ his legacy of misgovernance. 


In every election year, it’s the norm in NEP for low budget sultans, donning cheap Kanzus, and clan power brokers to position themselves to catch some of the campaign funds - money mostly looted from public coffers- that are spent oiling the wheels of patronage as politicians exchange briefcases of shillings for clan votes and allegiances. The so called Sultans mortgage their clansmen for few pennies at the expense of five years’ development plan. Campaign politics is an industry all by itself in Northern Kenya. The amounts being spent are eye-popping, and enough to sustain a huge array of influence peddlers and political jobbers. 


There is financial wastage and runaway graft in Mandera, Wajir and Garissa and the Auditor General has severally flagged down these three counties for Irregular procurement, questionable pending bills and stalled projects. Roba and his fellow governors from NEP also appeared before the Senate’s county public accounts and investments committee over damning financial audit reports and key queries on theft of public money. 


As we head to the August elections, the people of these three counties need to put clan emotions aside and elect responsible leaders for sake of their own development and the future of their children. NEP can’t afford another decade of plundering. 



Tuesday, 31 May 2022

The Cop Who Helps The Vulnerable And Refines Police Image

VOICES OF THE NORTH

When you think of a selfless police cop with a touch of finesse and pulchritude, you will probably have him in mind. Alas! That is Mohammed Ahmed Omar, the perfect gentleman of a police officer who hails from Garissa county, North Eastern.




The young officer joined the police service sometimes 2006 after graduating from Utali college where he earned a diploma in tour operations. Due to his footballing talent, Mohamed was noticed by a senior police officer who requested him to join the national police football team. Six months after playing football for the police team, he got convinced and joined the police service and played for three years before quitting the beautiful game due to injuries. 

The issue of my being here today - my current duty station- started from when I entered the job, I took a strong vow to serve my country and fellow citizens and that is why who I am, said Mohamed. Social media is full of stories praising him for his outstanding work and the people he has helped in one way or the other in line of duty. 

The gallant police officer has won the hearts of many after going an extra mile to help a woman and her son who was suffering from cancer but could not get a passport to travel to India for specialized treatment.

Mohamed Ahmed, who is attached to the Immigration department, Nairobi, says the story of that woman and her ailing child was so touching that he had to do everything possible to help her and ensured she got the passport within a day despite her tribulations while seeking it. Many praised him for that noble act when the story went viral on social media.



Mohamed said that sometimes policeman’s life is threatened, “but the beautiful thing is that at the end of the day, when we go out of our way to help the people we are meant to serve, we earn respect and get confidence not only from my colleagues but also from the public.” 

Here’s how the interview went...

Who is Mohamed Ahmed

I was born and and raised in Garissa and schooled in Tana River. Later joined Utali college and graduated with Diploma in tour operations. 


So how did you end up in the police service after Utali

While working for a tour agency agency, I used to play football a lot and I was good at it.  

A senior police officer requested me to join the national police football team. Six months after playing for the team, I joined the police service and trained as a police officer. After that I played for the police team for three more years. Due to injuries, I quit the beautiful game.  

My first posting as a police officer was in Isiolo county where served for for one year and later Kitale and then Nairobi. Due to the good relation I developed with the public, I got seconded to Nyayo House, Immigration department. 

Family?

I'm the second born in a family of six. Raised by my both patents. It’s important that children get the opportunity to be raised by their both parents. My dad passed away sometimes early 2022 

I’m a father of one boy. 

How do you unwind?

As a passionate footballer, I rarely miss a football match especially the premier league and also have a test for movies and captivating series.. Also love touring places when time allows and above all I love helping humanity. 




Which is the most moving story you encountered in your line of duty

My encounter with a mother who applied for a passport for her son who was a cancer patient is one story I will never forget. She had difficulty in getting the passport for the boy, 9 years old. 

One morning while reporting for duty, I found a woman sitting at the entrance of Nyayo House dejected and depressed for not able to getting the vital document. 

It took her about five minutes to compose herself to narrate her story to me. I took  her details and followed her case up. I made sure by all means that the passport was out the same day and ensured her she gets in a day. When she came back the following day I couldn’t remember her face because I deal with many people but I had her passport. When she introduced herself, I recognized, gave her the passport and she could not believe. She was crying for close to ten minutes and at the same time praying for me.  After three days she came back and when I asked her why she’s back she told me that she came to thank me and the team but to also tell me that her son  died. It was such a sad story. 

How will you describe yourself

Humble, believes in helping humanity and believe in the positive image of the police service and it’s only through our actions that we will have a positive impact on society. 

We are not in the police service to earn salary or to gain power but to touch lives and empower the vulnerable civilians. 


Monday, 9 May 2022

Why Duale Will Deliver The North to The Hustler Nation

There is no one from the pastoralists’ political landscape who can whip a crowd quite like him. Nor is there any politician from the restive North with his special talents for handling political foes. From a junior politician in the 10th Parliament to a political bigwig in the 11th and 12th Parliament, Duale commands huge  support across the North – the political base of the pastoralists - not basing on tribal cocoons compared to his foes and has earned the respect and admiration of the North. Indeed he is the indisputable kingpin of the pastoralist community and the Muslim Ummah.


Patronage from his followers is overwhelming, above all, to his political opponents who deploy all means to thwart his political determination. But, he has outshined their conspiracies innumerable epochs and emerged as the winner. Refer to him as the Member of Parliament for Garissa Township or rather the first Majority Leader of Kenya’s National Assembly, Adan Barre Duale. 


The effect of Hon Adan Duale’s national position – Majority Leader of the National Assembly – has been felt across Northern Kenya; from Marsabit to Mandera, Moyale to Masalani just to name a few.

Before Jubilee came to power, Garissa residents – and the region at large - were treated to frequent power blackouts as businesses often came to a halt due to lack of energy. In those days, electricity was a preserve of few and those in urban areas and businesses in rural areas were left to find alternative ways of operating. 


Things are different today. That part of the country has been connected to the national grid. The Kenya Kwanza Coalition government's goal of electricity access by all will be achieved and the North won’t be left behind since NEP’s celebrated son will deliver its fair share.

History has been made courtesy of the Garissa Township MP. Mind you, he’s vying for his 4th consecutive term. Uninterrupted. That shows the love his people have for him.


There is a clear indication of Dr William Ruto’s incoming administration’s interest in developing the restive north and such plans will definitely change the economic aspect of Northern Kenya positively since investors will be attracted to the region due to the availability of power and other related infrastructure necessary for business. The hustler nation unveiled its plan for the region early this year while campaigning in Wajir. Hon Duale, as the undisputed kingpin of the pastoralist politics, has a say in all these and how they unfold.


On Nomadic animal husbandry, once the hustlers form a government after the elections, it has plans to upgrade the Independent Livestock Authority with the objective of providing a ready market for the Pastoralists livestock. The Kenya Kwanza coalition has a plan to ensure the north get Equalization Fund to assist the marginalized areas in providing basic services to bring the region’s  development at par with the rest of the country.


Infrastructure-wise, the road from Garissa to Madogashe is complete and  being used. It has indeed eased transportation of people, goods and of course livestock - the livelihood of Northern Kenya. This road bears the leadership signature of Hon Duale. He lobbied for it when he was the majority leader and ensured it’s delivered. Also Dr Ruto has a blueprint to unlock the region’s infrastructural need as there are plans plan to connect the region with itself and other parts of the country.


Duale’s record as far as Garissa Township constituency is concerned speaks for itself and it’s a story for another day. 


Lately, the Majority Leader has locked horns with his opponents in their attempt to register a tribal, individualistic political party in the name of UDM to ‘’fight for pastoralists interest’’ when in the real sense it’s the political vehicle of one outgoing Governor who is reportedly accused of looting his county and now purporting to contest for a senatorial seat to salvage his capsizing political boat and probably escape accountability. The outgoing Governor also knows that his own political star cannot shine brighter than the seat he currently enjoys. The writing is on the wall!


Hate or love him, the first Majority Leader of Kenya Hon Adan Barre Duale remains the kingpin of the Pastoralists’ political landscape. Hon Duale knows the way, goes the way and shows the way! And the Pastoralists have no option but to be with him. And sure they will.


Thursday, 28 April 2022

Wajir At Crossroads: Why County 008 Deserves A Fresh Start

 

Wajir now at the crossroads, and this is a good place to be. It is at this juncture that the people of Wajir are forced to make decisions about the future that they desire. Evil thrives in darkness. Bad things happen when good people say nothing. 


Wajir’s politicians- rather the clan influence peddlers (Sultans) and the wheeler dealers masquerading as leaders - have taken it this far and we should commend them for forcing Wajir to see what it refused to accept. Wajir should refuse to resign itself to poverty of ideas, irrationality, self-hatred, failed devolution and a cursed future.

For how long should Wajir tolerate bad leadership? A decade of misgovernment has bankrupted the county resulting to absolute poverty, joblessness, arrogance of the ruling class, indiscriminate killings due to clan clashes and wanton theft of devolved resources by all of the politicians and the privileged ilk.

Wajir should not accept to be dominated by the few privileged groups - that sip coffee in upmarket buildings that were bought with looted devolved funds - purporting to draw a roadmap for county 008. A plan that only fits their selfish interests and not the aspirations of the people of Wajir. 

When a county is led by a leader, who has deficit of leadership qualities, intellectual vacuity, and moral and spiritual aridity, that county will be doomed. It takes a great political leader, who is visionary, to remake a damaged county and set it on the pathway to a successful devolution and true economic prosperity.

Wajir’s Millennials and smart generation must realize that their collective efforts would put asunder the mythical grip of the clan power brokers and the privileged few and achieve their most desired political goal of good governance. Devolution is a game changer and it’s unfortunate that Wajir has not benefited from it, the billions devolved  in the last decade notwithstanding. 


The young generation should not be bystanders in the management of the county affairs. They should detest the illegality of politicians representing themselves and not those who elected them into office. They must see beyond the preoccupation of their clans. They must reject the idea of a county government whose operational expenditure always exceeds its developmental budget —a county executive whose members hardly propose any meaningful county development plan. 

The 2022 elections should be the dawn of a new era for Wajir and it should not let the sun go down on this momentum.. So how does Wajir get out of the current political crisis? Go beyond the petty sub- clan thinking - which hasn’t served anyone any good - and recall your MPs, governor, and all representatives. 


Wajir should cause  a ballot revolution and simply elect officials that care like Hussein Abdi Bare of Tarbaj and demand that they serve well, and respect your vote for respect is reciprocal even though unuh know say I special, as Burna Boy sung! 

Thursday, 7 April 2022

The Boy From Mandera Who Conquered Medical School And Now Saving Lives and Livelihoods

 VOICES OF THE NORTH

First, it is a service to humanity for which he is known. Starting from childhood – those who know him well may tell you more – doctor Abulhamid’s tradition has always been to care for the less privileged and use whatever at his disposal to improve the lot of others. For the good doctor, philanthropy and service to the community are generational values and virtues but that is a story for another day.



Born in Mandera, Northeastern Kenya, the sight of malnourished, traumatized and overly sick people who could not access basic healthcare has been a daily occurrence for Abdulhamid in his formative years. While in school, he promised himself that he will work hard, join medical school and comeback to save the situation and help his kinsmen get out of the misery.

After completing Mandera High school, the young bright boy secured a slot in medical school at Egerton university. After graduation he worked at Garissa County Referral Hospital as a medical doctor attached to the department of surgery and came face to face with the stark reality of the difficulties folks from the villages endured to have an access to safe surgical interventions and it was at that point he realized he had to act and do something to end their suffering and Safe Surgical Aid was born!

The initiative covers people who ordinarily cannot afford to pay for lifesaving surgeries. These people live on the threshold of poverty that having a three meal a day is a luxury let alone footing the cost of a surgery. The Safe Surgical initiative is a fresh perspective into giving back to one’s community. In a society where people die of small ailments and other uncomplicated diseases whose treatment can be handled in public hospitals -  In Northern Kenya counties health centers are in filthy state, patients share beds and are advised to purchase prescribed drugs in private chemists where probably drugs meant for the public is sold and money budgeted for healthcare is usually looted. NEP’s healthcare is generally sick and needs surgical intervention!

Safe Surgical AID was set up in 2021 and has so far undertaken over two thousand surgeries in the counties of Mandera, Garissa and Wajir in partnership with international and local organizations involved in health-related issues and other charitable works across the country.

Doctor Abdulhamid’dis love for medicine has continued to manifest in his commitment to helping to build a healthy population that can contribute tremendously to the aspiration to reset, rebuild, and grow Kenya. Below is our one on one interview with him.

 

Who is Abdulhamid Noor?

I am Abdulhamid M. Noor, born and brought up in MetaMeta Town – What used to be the liveliest part of Mandera town entertainment wise - of Mandera County.

Schooled at Mandera DEB primary and Mandera secondary school.

What is your professional background?

I am a medical doctor by profession, did my MBCHB degree in Egerton university school of medicine, Nakuru County where I graduated in December 2015.

Now pursuing Masters Degree in Urology at the University of Nairobi.

Am assionate about good governance and accessible free health care services for all Kenyans.

After I graduated from Egerton, I worked at Garissa County Referral Hospital as a medical doctor attached to the department of surgery till I was released for the post graduate program that I’m currently pursuing.

Tell us more about the charity work you are involved in Northern Kenya

In Garissa I saw the difficulties folks from the villages, refugee camps, and those from across the border in Somalia endure to have an access to a safe surgical intervention, how many kilometers they cover to see a doctor and the long surgical list that they endure to have their day in theatre and it was at that point that I realized I had a responsibility to end their suffering and Safe Surgical Aid was conceptualized.

I co-founded Safe Surgical Aid with Dr Khadija Hassan and Alibashir Mohamed.

 Safe Surgical Aid is a non-profit organization that provides Safe and free surgeries in where there is no access especially the marginalized communities in Asal counties, refugee camps and parts of the coastal towns.

Since we started we have done more than 2000 cases of surgeries involving the eyes, ears, nose and throat, cleft lip and palate. We also perfomed obstetric fistulas and gynecological surgaries. We plan to expand the services across the region in the fullness of time.

What adjective will you use to describe yourself?

I am a true Northerner in its actual sense, born in Mandera, married from wajir, working in Garissa, I should be the poster boy for the region.

I am one among the many ordinary Kenyans who are doing God’s will in advancing the country and by extension the region. Quite patient and dedicated in what I intend to achieve, if I don’t get it today I wait for another day and replan to attain it.

My dream is to see every Kenyan have access to free, safe and accessible health care in their own towns and villages, where every county has a progressive healthcare system for all its residents. Thank you.

 

 

Saturday, 5 March 2022

Of Devolution, Plundering and Why Mandera Deserves Better


The majority voiceless people of Mandera have endured hardship brewed by incompetent leaders - MPs, MCAs, Senators- who couldn’t make head or tail of governance. Leaders who have nothing to offer but hardship, bad governance and insecurity. The hardship in Mandera didn’t start with Roba’s administration. It started way back but it has in fact been made more naked-sticking out like sore thumb by Roba’s County government. 


Mandera county is one of the best managed counties in NEP but that’s like the best among the worst if the funds allocated to Mandera in the last 9 years is anything to go by. Just like his first, Roba’s second tenure is an emblem of hardship and insecurity. His 3rd tenure via “a project of the profligate incumbent” as Senator @BK puts it, will be the same as the second or even worse! 


Except one of the candidates, all the other contestants mentioned by the former Senator of Mandera who is not blameless as far as the country leadership is concerned, have been tried and tested in one way or another. 


It’s too early to predict who will be Mandera’s 2nd Governor but the entry of Waziri Adan Mohamed into the race is definitely a game changer! A man who has reached the apex of the corporate world and a CS post to boot, there’s no doubt that he will help turn around the failing County, 009. If success is measurable, Adan Mohamed has probably achieved what every brainy professional wants to achieve. Unlike the majority who join politics for the sake of it, Adan must be ‘retiring’ to make his home county a better place. He has the skills, knowhow and the network to just do that. He must have been waiting for this moment! 


Mandera has a choice to either take a leap forward forward or suicidal dive in River Dawa and that’s what Roba and his project represent. 


Sunday, 23 January 2022

Senator Mumad: Here Is My Journey And Why Mandera Deserves Better

By Senator Mumad

My public service journey has been long and fulfilling. I first joined the Public Service  as a civil engineer, then served as Resident Engineer, range water, North Eastern Province. From there I became the North Eastern Provincial Water Engineer and then promoted to become the head of Division at the Ministry of Water Development. I was seconded to the National Water Conservation and Pipeline CorporationI where I served as the Chief Engineer. Later on I was privileged to be appointed Ambassador of Kenya to the Arab Republic of Egypt with accreditation to Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Eritrea. Thereafter, I served as a Permanent Secretary in the ministries of Regional Development, Home Affairs and Roads and Public Works. 

 I took an early retirement in 2007 and sought an elective post as MP for Mandera West where I served for two consecutive terms. During my first term as MP Mandera West, I also served as an Assistant Minister for Energy. 

 In 2017, I opted to run for the Senator of Mandera County where I am now serving. I owe my success to Allah and I am deeply grateful to the people of Mandera who  have been part of my journey throughout. I have now decided to offer myself as a gubernatorial candidate for Mandera. I have the experience, knowledge, competence and requisite network among the communities in Mandera to best fit this position.