The race for Wajir County gubernatorial post has taken a new twist after two arch-rivals united to capture the seat, they lost to incumbent Governor Mohamed Abdi.
This even as the clan arithmetic seems to be taking centre stage in the high-stakes contest. Former Wajir Governor Ahmed Abdullahi and his close challenger Ahmed Muhumed Abdi have joined hands to run as governor and deputy respectively in the August 9 General Election. Abdullahi, a former economic adviser to the Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani is from the dominant Mantaan sub-clan of the Degodia clan while Muhumed is from the Maqabul sub-clan of the main Ogaden.
The two will vie on an Orange Democratic Movement(ODM) ticket. Last week, Muhumed alias Cato announced his interest in the governor’s seat in a bid to bring back hope in the drought-stricken county that has been marred by political squabbling and court petitions since2017.
“After a long and serious consultation following my decision to vie for an elective county position, I’ve finally found a like-minded person and whom we share common visions in the bid to reform and prosper Wajir County,” Muhumed said in an interview with People Daily on Monday.
He went on: “I’m honoured and grateful to deputize and be the running mate of my brother Ahmed Abdullahi, the first, former Governor of Wajir County. He is a leader whose track records speak volumes.”
“I believe together as a team, we will deliver accountable and transparent leadership in developing Wajir County and transforming the lives of the people,’ he added. In 2017, Muhumed contested for the governor’s seat on the Party for Development and Reforms (PDR) ticket but lost to Governor Abdi of the Jubilee party garnering some 49,401 votes.
Abdullahi and Muhumed contested in the ODM and the Party for Development and Reforms (PDR) and garnered 36,598 and 31,902 votes respectively. The two later joined hands to challenge Governor Abdi’s victory in the court of law.
“We have come a long way as comrades because we had a very protracted case all the way from the High Court to the Supreme Court and became very close friends. We realized that what’s more important is not really who takes what position but our ability to form a winning team and work for the people of Wajir,” said Abdullahi.
“We believe that the deputy and his governor need to have synergy and need to trust each other. And because of the long journey that we’ve been through, together, we believe that there couldn’t be a better pair to work together,” he added.
Abdullahi called for peaceful campaigns devoid of insults and other shenanigans. “We want to believe these campaigns are about presenting a solid, coherent manifesto, a vision for our people of Wajir,” he observed, saying that immediately after Ramadan, they will hit the ground and sell their agenda. “We are both brand names in our own right.
We have known names. We’re not trying to establish name recognition. People know us. We’ve been in the field before and they know what we’re capable of doing. We believe that we will be able to sell our agenda and deliver this seat,” he held.
The duo will face off with deputy Ahmed Ali Muktar who decamped from the Jubilee party to United Democratic Alliance (UDA). Others are Ugas Sheikh Mohamed who ditched the Party of National Unity (PNU) for Musalia Mudavadi’s ANC and Nairobi South proprietor Hassan Mohamed who both are seeking to fly the Jubilee party ticket. Incumbent Senator Abdullahi Ali alias Kabreta and who is also the Chairman of the United Democratic Movement (UDM) is also in the race.