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Wajir sacrifices democracy in the bench of clannism

By Adow Mohamed:

At last the Degodia community in Wajir County is seeking to seal a deal over the weekend to front a single candidate for the Wajir County gubernatorial seat in the second county government to be elected on August 8, 2017.

For the past weeks, the community has been scheming to take up majority of county’s top seats after Wajir South residents of Ogaden community endorsed their own candidate for the County’s top seat.

The community is in preliminary meetings to facilitate a grand meeting that will bring together its different sections and all aspirants for various seats to minimize competitive politics and ensure they vote as block.

Three aspirants from the Degodia clan are eyeing the gubernatorial seat. They are: Academician, Salah Abdi Sheikh, Kenyan Ambassador to Saudia Arabia and Former legislature Mohamed Abdi Mohamud alias Mwalimu pekee and current Governor Ahmed Abdullahi.

Degodia’s trial to face the election as a united block maybe fruitful if the contenders agree with the clan negotiated democracy that has of become the bedrock of North Eastern Kenya politics.

Ahmed was endorsed for the top seat by the Ogaden of Wajir south in a recent declaration.

Wajir was the only county in the former North Eastern province that has inclusivity in the 2013 elections, the three dominant clans in the county Degodia, Ogaden and Ajuran shared top elective posts according to strength. Deputy Governor and senatorial position were given to the Ajuran and Ogaden communities respectively as the Degodia took home the Governorship.

However, things look different this time round and the Dominant Degodia might take all slots after inspired by the Ogaden community’s endorsement in what was touted as the ‘Third force’ naming little known Ahmed Muhumed Abdi in a recent declaration at the famous Shaletey grounds in Wajir.

Pundits have it that though there is possibility of Degodia fronting their own candidates for all seats, Ajuran community might be considered for either senatorial or deputy governor slot while Ogaden risks losing out after opting to pick one of their own for the top seat.

Wajir politics was destined for ‘power sharing just like the last elections until the southerners made true their intention to seek the gubernatorial seat.

Degodia’s have the numerical advantage to scoop all the county elective seats, if the clan negotiated democracy that is being schemed up in the coming days succeeds.

But since neither Ambassador Mohamed Abdi Mohamud nor the incumbent Ahmed Abdullahi may be willing to cede grounds, and since Salah Abdi Sheikh has already made it clear that his campaign and bid is devoid of clan alignment, this could be a pipe dream.

A section of Ajuran elders carry Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdullahi shoulder high after recently endorsing him for a second term in office.

Coalition Possibility

The possibility of Ogaden and Ajuran community forming a coalition is not adding up. The Ajuran community has high hopes in getting their share from the Dagodia community than their Ogaden colleagues because of the numerical advantage.

The Ajuran’s will either take deputy governor or Senatorial slot if they form coalition with the Degodia line up. But with Ogaden, Ajuran will get Senatorial slot only because the deputy will be reserved for a Degodia candidate to attract their vote.

On the other hand, the possibility of the Degodia candidate forming a coalition with “Third force” is slim, clan negotiated democracy not allowing. Given the rush with which the Degodia is seeking to front a single candidate, the decision from the South may have triggered the thinking they could be on the verge of losing in a county they were a majority.

Ajuran’s possibility of forming a coalition with Degodia is more like than with the Ogaden. This is because it’s to their advantage to join Degodia line-up to get their shares than losing by forming coalition with the “Third Force”.

For the ‘third force’, rumors have it they want to withdraw little known Ahmed from the gubernatorial race and opt for the 2013 coalition model but this time set eyes on the Deputy Governor’s slot.

As we await outcome of the developing Degodia meeting, just like the 2013 elections, the contest for Wajir County Gubernatorial seat will technically be a battle between democracy and the clan elders’ traditional powers.

The writer is a Nep Journal contributor. The views expressed here are his own.



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