2017 polls nominees selection splits Mandera elders council

A section of elders in Mandera now wants the Garre Council of Elders dissolved and new members appointed in December ahead of the 2017 General Election.

They say the Takaba Declaration made last Sunday by the elders, in which preferred candidates for various elective positions in the 2017 polls were picked, lacks the backing of any Kenyan law and goes against the Garre Charter signed before the 2013 General Election.

The declaration, they add, does not capture the interests of all the sub-clans of the Garre clan.

Those endorsed to run in 2017 were Hassan Noor Hassan (governor), Hassan Osman (senator), 18 Members of County Assembly and four MPs, among them Aden Haji Yusuf (Mandera West) and Mohammed Abdi Ibrahim ( Mandera North).

In a well-attended meeting in El Wak Town on Wednesday, the opposing elders appointed a nine-member interim committee that will now oversee the clan’s affairs. The nine were picked from the Ali, Adola, Asare and Alfukesha sub-clans.

Abdullahi Abdi, the chairman of the committee, dismissed the Takaba Declaration as non-inclusive.

“After consultations with over 90 per cent of the 400 members of the Garre Council of Elders, excluding [the] 21 who made the Takaba Declaration, we called today’s meeting and decided we have to salvage the situation by suspending and removing them from office.

“In December, we will have a meeting bringing together all the leadership of [the] Garre from the region at a date and time to be decided. In this meeting, we will form a new council of elders,” Mr Abdi said.

Mr Abdi said they were not challenging the competence or qualifications of the candidates selected, but the entire process in which they were endorsed.

“Even [for] those allocated seats, there is no guarantee they will win.

“They can only succeed if there is common understanding within the community, clans and the individual candidates. It is a matter of making everyone satisfied that the process is right,” he added.

Mr Abdi accused elders who endorsed the Takaba Declaration of arm-twisting the county government to suit their interests.

“The former council of elders tried even to influence decisions by the county government. They tried to impose their will in terms of selection of employees and eventually the proper management of the council has been affected,” he said.

“Projects and contracts have also been affected. There is a lot [that] we need to go back to the drawing board and look at.

“We have seen some of the successes and a lot of dangers that are within the so-called negotiated democracy,” he added.

Mr Abdi said he does not understand why the elders are insisting that leaders should only serve for one term.

“It is their first time in office and they are learning. By the time they are building enough experience and their competence improves, you hound them out of office without respect. Is this a polytechnic to train people? No. These are leaders,” he said.

In August, the Garre elders ordered incumbent Governor Ali Roba and Senator Billow Kerrow to abandon their re-election plans, saying they wanted to introduce fresh blood into the political life of the region.

But Mr Roba said elections should be pegged on performance and has insisted that he will seek another term with his own line-up of candidates for various seats.

However, Senator Kerrow has agreed to abide by the elders’ decision and asked other leaders to do so.