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Sunday, 11 Jun 2017 18:45 EATabdirahmancajab@gmail.com
The current MCA for Gurar Ward in the Wajir County Assembly Bishar Osman Licho alias 'Sailor' is upbeat about his re-election in the upcoming general elections. The MCA, whose ward is located in Wajir North constituency, is campaigning for his seat on the basis of a set of accomplishments for which he hopes the electorate will give him a second chance.
Among his achievements are improvement of education standards and roads. In education, Gurar Ward received Sh4.8 million bursary fund from Wajir county government under his leadership. He said this had helped many students. "We want to ensure that no student misses an education because of lack of school fees. I concentrate on the very poor students whose parents cannot afford the fees," he said.
The MCA, who believes education should encompass both class performance and environmental awareness, has also overseen the building of ECD classrooms and toilets for various schools to improve sanitation among learners. He has also built a Madarasa through his personal initiatives.
He has overseen the improvement of several roads especially the key Shauri Yako road, which was a death trap before renovation. This is one of the most famous roads in Wajir and now is the best road in the entire Wajir North constituency. He has also built various drifts and culverts on key link roads with support from the county government.
On water, he has seen the establishment water pans, three financed by the national government and one from the county government. In addition, his administration fenced the Bamba Dam, which for years was not safe for both the animals and human consumption. "Since we renovated it, the water is now clean for human and animal consumption and we have since piped it for use by some of the locals."
The MCA has overseen the drilling of several boreholes, two of which are currently in use. Alongside these were underground water tanks for various centers, also funded by the county government, and several water tracking most of them through personal initiatives.
Not left behind in his programme is health, whereby he had built one maternity wing at the main hospital and establishment of many domestic mobile clinics. To spur commerce, he brought through the county government, solar powered street lights at local markets, allowing market women to operate early into the night. His ward received Sh5 million of revolving fund which they have given to small enterprises at no interest in order to boost their businesses.
The MCA told this writer that he has also remained true to his electors by staying close to them. For example, he visits his ward every weekend despite it being 300km from Wajir Town where the assembly is located. He says he is different from other contenders for the seat, some of whom live in urban centres and only visit rural locations whenever they need votes from the people.
"I live in Gurar and my family stays with my electorate. We are part of the community we are trying to work for and so have no illusions about what the problems and potential are," he explained. He also said that his ripe age made him credible to the electorate. "At this age, the people have known what I can and cannot do. This is not the case with some candidates who just happen during elections."
In addition to these attributes, the MCA believes his legislative experience sets him apart from the opponents. "I have been part of the team that established some of the systems being used in the assembly. I did not fail my work but indeed I represented well my people at the assembly."
Educated at Gurar Primary School and Bute Boys High School, where he finished in 1988 and 1992 respectively, he joined the military in 1994 and was categorized as a Naval officer. From 1995, he attended the Kenya Naval Training School and specialized in supply management for three and a half years, graduating in 1998. He served in the military for 18 years until his resignation at the level of of sergeant in 2012. He was discharged on request and awarded exemplary certificate of conduct.
It is after his military service that he joined politics, contesting the seat in the 2013 general elections on a Narc-Kenya party ticket. The MCA soon proved himself an able debater. He was called a gallant member by the Speaker of the assembly. Some colleagues affectionately call him Simba wa bunge.
He is well versed with Standing Orders and the constitution of Kenya. He said he has never missed a single session of the assembly. He was the first chairman of Heath committee in the house and he led his committee on negotiating with the Kenya Medical Research Institute to have KEMRI establish a branch in Wajir County.
A holder of a Bachelor's degree in business management and host of diplomas from East Africa University, the MCA has participated actively in the passing of all crucial bills in the assembly, such as Finance bills over the last four years, the Bursary Bill, Climate Change Bill and other several bills.
He is a member of House Business Committee and chairs several ad hoc committees. But despite his vocalness, he could not rise to leadership since he's from neither the majority party (ODM) nor minority one (Jubilee). The Standing Orders require that the largest party produces the majority leader while the second largest produces the minority leader.
Having been elected on Narc-Kenya, he has switched over to ODM, on whose ticket he is currently running. He told this writer that during his tenure, he has also been part of a group of leaders mediating peace between warring clans on the Wajir North, Eldas and Tarbaj constituency borders. He is committed to eradicating drug abuse, in particular of miraa which he blamed for many vices in the region including school drop out rates.
Abdirahman Rashid Farah is a contributing reporter for the Kenya Free Press based in Wajir County