Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Monday, 22 May 2017 12:06 EATabdirahmancajab@gmail.com
The tough battle for political supremacy in Wajir County entered a definitive period this weekend when the Party for Development and Reforms (PDR) unveiled its lineup in a series of meetings that have sent shivers down the spines of the leading Jubilee and ODM camps.
The new political party has identified a group of dynamic politicians for the gubernatorial, Senator and women representative position, not forgetting those running in the constituencies. PDR is a party to watch not only in Wajir but Isiolo, Marsabit and Garissa as well.
Firmly in support of Jubilee Party and President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election, the party was initially accused of seeking to skim votes off local allies of the President and paving way for ODM candidates, but during the president's visit to Wajir on April 8 he fully endorsed it, turning it into a major force.
Yesterday, PDR gubernatorial hopeful Ahmed Muhumed, his deputy Abdihafid Sheik Yarow, senatorial aspirant Mohamed Abikar and women representative aspirant Fatuma Gedi unveiled their team to an enthusiastic reception from their supporters. Thousands of people attended their events, beginning with a big reception at Wajir international airport where they disembarked from Nairobi and culminating at a major rally at the Wajir Stadium.
Part of the crowd that attended the rally at Wajir Stadium.
PDR is now among four strong alliances in Wajir; others being the Jubilee team led by Ambassador Mohamed Abdi Mohamud, NASA one led by incumbent governor Ahmed Abdullahi of ODM and Salah Abdi Sheik. Given this, the race for Wajir gubernatorial seat is expected to be a tough one. The PDR team was officially unveiled at the rally, using the slogan 'TEAM FRESH'.
Mr Muhumed, also known as Cato, is the flag-bearer for the governor position and was endorsed by the Ogaden community. He is the youngest candidate compared to the other contenders for the seat. He said his first agenda once elected would be to bring the youth into government by giving them top jobs in his government.
He promised to bring development to the people of Wajir, using his experience in the non-governmental sector where he has worked most of his life. "I am an experienced man. This is not the first time I will be holding an office so my interest is to work for the people of Wajir," he said, speaking of important experience he has earned in private work.
Abdihafid Sheik Yarow, who is the current deputy governor having been elected alongside Mr Abdullahi, has announced the withdrawal of his support from the incumbent and is running with Mr Muhumed this time around. He said the PDR team is composed as being very dynamic, and promised that as the senior politician among them he would ensure they won the election and implemented their agenda faithfully to the people of Wajir.
On education background, he first he finished basic education at Jugbaru Primary School, then joined Wajir High School where he was the best student in the region in the year 1996. Thereafter, he joined Kenyatta University, studying BCom (accounting option, honors). He holds a Masters degree in public policy from Tokyo, Japan and is currently doing PhD in leadership in addition to being a certified public accountant (CPA-K) and member of ICPAK.
Abdihafid's job experience includes a long stint at Kenya Revenue Authority, which he joined as a management trainee after university and from where he resigned only in 2012 as a senior tax auditor to start his own audit and tax consulting firm. In December 2012, he was requested by his clan to join then ODM candidate Abdullahi (the current governor) as a running mate and the two won election in March 2013.
He also promised that their government will be inclusive government and will bring on board everyone with ideas on improving Wajir. Lastly he urged people to vote peaceful on 8 August without politics of hatred. He urged all aspirants to maintain peace and accept defeat gracefully in case they lose, saying all the candidates in the contest were his 'brothers' and failing from politics "is not end of the world."
Mohamed Abikar, the senatorial hopeful who has spent his life in advocacy, said he was ready to serve the people of Wajir in the position. He said he is not new to politics, having contested several times to become MP for Wajir West. He said he would be advocating for the rights of the people and promised to safeguard the county finance once elected.
Fatuma Gedi, the hopeful for women representative position, contested last time but lost to Fatuma Ibrahim Ali, the incumbent. She promised to advocate for women in the county and support girl child education.
Ali Noor Ibrahim, the current aide of Deputy Governor Abdihafid, said the PDR team has done their research well and are optimistic of victory. He was among top secretariat officials of 'Team Fresh' which he said was composed of young leaders with a vision to transform the lives of Wajir people.
Another aspirant, Ali Abdirahman Haji alias 'Ali Dentist' who is eyeing the Wagalla/Ganyure Ward position said the upcoming elections presents Wajir County with revolutionary time. He said the youths needed change and that only the PDR team was capable of delivering it. He said he was closely allied to the deputy governor Abdihafid and trusts that his leadership style will see Wajir transformed.
Abdihafid said PDR's manifesto focuses on the priority of the people of Wajir, namely water, education, roads, employment creation and overall social development. He said the party will if they win the elections give loans to small groups and businesses at no interest at all. Abdihafid said Team Fresh had identified six agenda items for their manifesto:
1). To improve healthcare by putting between 20,000 to 100,000 households by the end of five years on a medical scheme in collaboration with NHIF.
2). To expand the bursary fund to ensure no student from Wajir fails to complete secondary education for lack of fees so as to improve primary- secondary transition rate.
3). To employ Madarasa teachers at the ECD centers so as to promote integrated Islamic education in the region's children.
4). To address the perennial water and sanitation problem in Wajir Town.
5). To promote Wajir as the global Somali cultural capital to boost tourism.
6). To sponsor annual sports festivals so as to nurture and promote sporting talent among the youths.
Abdirahman Rashid Farah is a contributing reporter for the Kenya Free Press based in Wajir County