As we edge ever closer to the poll day, the Northern counties of Garissa, Wajir and Mandera gubernatorial seats are some of the hotly contested across the country.
Garissa’s race is a battle of titans pitting the incumbent Nadhif Jama of Wiper party and former administrator Ali Bunow Korane of Jubilee with Garissa township tussle between two political giants Majority leader Aden Duale of the ruling Jubilee party and Former deputy speaker Farah Maalim of Wiper spicing up the game. It is difficult to speculate a clear winner but whoever will win will do it by a small margin.
In Wajir county, it is an open eye three horse race between incumbent Ahmed Abdullahi, immediate former Saudi Ambassador and former minister Mohamed Abdi Mohamud and a little known Ahmed Muhumed from the NGOs world. In another perspective, they ail from Wajir South and former Wajir West and Wajir East regions.
However, Eldas that was part of former Wajir West is inclined towards the ‘Wajir East’ candidate; Jubilee party’s Mohamed Abdi Mohamud while Wajir North is a battleground for the three candidates
Both the incumbent Ahmed Abdullahi of ODM and Mohamed Abdi Mohamud have made significant inroads in Wajir South. The ancient rivalry between the Mohamed Zuber and Maqabul clans of Wajir South is the biggest hurdle for the political newcomer, PDR’s Ahmed Muhumed with Mohamed Abdi Mohamud standing a chance to garner the largest percentage of the Mohamed Zubeir clan votes.  Crossing over to the border county of Mandera, the incumbent and Jubilee’s candidate Ali Ibrahim Roba lock horns with EFP’s Hassan Noor Hassan. For starters, both candidates hail from the dominant Garre clan and Hassan Noor is believed to be the council of elders nominee .
In 2013, a new political dimension was drawn for the county as the Garre council of elders nominees swept nearly all the seats in the county. However, devolution resources created new political heavyweights and diminished the influence of the council of Elders.
The Degodia, Murule and other clans who form around 45% of the county’s population are largely supporting the incumbent Ali Roba. He also enjoy the support of 5 of the 6 Members of parliament 4 of which are from his Garre clan. The incumbent is banking on his own Sub clan, the turf, which happens to be the largest Garre sub-clan.
Whatever the case, the incumbent has an assignment to garner at least 3 percent of votes from his populous Garre clan to have a chance of re-election.
In these three counties, it is all about clan numbers, “negotiated democracy”, the role of political king makers, power of incumbency, state machinery and the emergence of influential elites. The outcome of these election will not only tell who is who in these counties but will also serve as a litmus for future elections in the former North Eastern province
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