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Thursday, 20 Jul 2017 11:35 EATabdirahmancajab@gmail.com
As campaigns intensify 18 days to the August 8 General Election, attention in Wajir County if Tarbaj constituency where history is likely to be made not only in the constituency, but entire County and Northern Kenya in general if a woman is elected a member of Parliament.
Ms Fatuma Ibrahim Ali, the outgoing Wajir Women Representative, is battling it out with two men and if all goes as the mood in the ground with Opposition party ODM maintaining grip on the ground as it was in 2013, then she will in record books.
The filed has also been leveled after the outgoing Member of Parliament Mohamed Ibrahim Elmi who had won the seat on ODM decided not to defend his seat. Ms Fatuma is facing Idiris Dubow of the ruling Jubilee Party (JP) and Bashane Gaacal of Party of Development and Reforms (PDR). The three would be fighting to gain the majority of 19,699, of the total registered voters in the constituency with four wards namely Elben, Sarman, Tarbaj, and Wargadad.
Ms Fatuma is seen as a front runner for the seat come the Election Day, because during her more than for years in Parliament as a Woman Representative she defused the historical perception in the county that elective seats of Members of Parliament are reserved for men. She has been in active and served as member of the Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs.
In her campaigns, the only woman aspirant in the county has coined a slogan “wama” which she is using to woo support from the electorate.
She is using her development record in the years she has been in Parliament to show case her ability to deliver if elected the next MP. Her biggest development truck was medical assistance to the people of Wajir County as well as pushing for education bursary of needy students in the area.
The aspirant hails from Fai Family which is the largest family in Degodia clan. The clan controls a big number of votes from the constituency and out of the more than 19,000 votes if all goes well she can command at 10,000 votes. She seriously invested in voter registration and therefore expected to benefit by getting more voters.
Ms Fatuma has in the meantime resorted to door to door campaigns as she meets different elders, youth and women from different parts of the constituency. Yesterday, she was meeting different groups at Wajir Palace Hotel. Kenya Free Press which covered her itinerary witnessed also found that she has initiated campaign tools which include branding more than 3 Land-Cruisers, 1 V8, 3 Toyota Hilax and 2 Probox cars.
“When I was campaigning for the position of Women Representative, the fight was not tight as it is today despite facing five other women. But for MP post, it’s a tough war since I am facing men who have dominated the field all along”, she said.
And speaking recently during Wajir Women Representative debate which was held at County Guest House hosted by Kesho Alliance and Silver Lining where Ms Fatuma was the chief guest, she said women leadership is very vital.
“I am happy to see young female candidates who are eying Women Rep position”, she said then adding beside the position of Woman Representative, the women from the Somali community must seek for other elective posts like her.
She cited other parts of the country where women are vying for even the position of Governor, Senator and MP positions, but castigated the Somali community where women are not seeking elective posts, only lobbying for nomination positions. She urged women to elect a person of good character as their next Woman Representative, since she has shifted to seek for the position of an MP.
She has pouched for the opposition coalition National Super Alliance (NASA) saying it would rescue Kenyans from the suffering they are undergoing including unemployment, hunger as well as corruption. She says NASA flag bearer Raila Odinga is the only man who can transform Kenya. “That is why I am in ODM and our party leader Mr Odinga will form the next government”, she said urging the electorate to reject Jubilee Party for failing to deliver to the expectations of Kenyans.
Ms Fatuma's campaign vehicle branded ODM which is an affiliate party of NASA.
On matters of security Ms Fatuma encourage the voters in the constituency and county in general to vote peacefully noting that the County is more important than politicians. Elections come and go but the life of the people is very important, she added.
Outlining her agenda for the constituency, Ms Fatuma said her attention would be provision of water through a program, implementing health sector reforms, creating employment for youths and women, boosting education sector and supporting livestock sector among others. She affirmed that Wajir County people have tasted her leadership style and promised not to fail Tarbaj residents when elected as the next MP.
Her special aide and political advisor, Mr Abdirahman Jamac confirmed to the reporter of this article that they are confident of winning the post of Tarbaj MP. He said their campaign has also gone digital as well as incorporating community elders where several teams have been instituted. They include campaign finance team, Logistics team and Public Relations team. “I can assure everybody that we are doing a professional campaign and it should be noted that Ms Fatuma’s leadership style is perfect and the Tarbaj constituents can count on her for better services”, he said.
According to Ms Fatuma’s profile as posted by Mzalendo-eye on Kenyan Parliament she credits her success to her grandmother who took her to school after her parents separated. She chose to study Agriculture as she believes that only agriculture could alleviate poverty in food insecure Wajir County.
Her work at UN Women exposed her to the challenges women face daily, physically and mentally. In 2003 she was appointed a commissioner to the Kenya National Commission for Human Rights (KNCHR) and spearheaded the release of a report faulting the government’s IDP’s resettlement exercise (Operation Rudi Nyumbani).
“Ms Fatuma is passionate about girl child education and seeks to ensure none of the girls in Wajir County lacks education due to financial constraints”, points the Mzalendo post.
Abdirahman Rashid Farah is a contributing reporter for the Kenya Free Press based in Wajir County