– A CITY BREED POLITICIAN WHO HAS NEVER LOST AN ELECTION
Who is this ABDI GUYO the Governor- Elect of Isiolo County?
Many are still amazed and yet to come to terms how a little known youthful aspirant who was a bit new to Isiolo had clinched just concluded Isiolo gubernatorial race defeating all the high and mighty including the former graft chief executive Halake Dida Wako and pioneer Isiolo county governor Godana Adhi Doyo.
Just like most other counties, Isiolo County too experienced hyped and neck to neck stiff competition where tribal mobilization, financial muscles and communities’ alignment took Centre stage as the campaign strategies. While there are other aspirants for the gubernatorial race, front runners and a spirited and bruising political battle was witnessed between the two camps one headed by former Isiolo governor Godana Doyo flagged by the women rep Rehema Dida Jaldesa and Hon Hassan Odha and on the other hand, the other camp is one headed by former Nairobi county assembly Majority Leader Abdi Guyo famously knowns as Kayole supported by former CAS Education Hon Mumina Gollo Bonaya and senator Fatuma Dullo.
While at the face value Godana Doyo team seemed to have had an upper hand throughout the campaign seasons due to mobilization and galvanization of the dominant borana community across the length and breadth of Isiolo county courtesy of Borana Council of Elders, the outcome of this election shocked many after the second camp headed by Former Nairobi County Majority leader trounced and clinchéd the coveted seat. Guyo who vied on the Jubilee Party ticket emerged winner after garnering 28,946 votes against former Governor Godana Doyo who garnered 26,270 votes with Halake Dida coming out as distant third with only 2,249 votes.
It is the above outcome of this election which has forced me to piece together this article to highlight a bit who the governor elect Abdi Guyo was and finally my whisper to him now that the campaign and election outcome is behind us. I won’t wish to see this piece seen much as scholarly or biased toward any camp but rather as informative piece geared toward building resilient Isiolo County which is my second home.
Let me start by defining who the governor elect was though I am subject to correction-;
Abdi Guyo was born four decades ago in Isiolo .and raised among Sakuye people– one of the affiliate community to Borana majorly inhabiting Isiolo south. After his O ‘level study just like many other pastoralist sons/daughters, he crossed over to Nairobi for further studies with a desire to seek for opportunities afterward. There is scanty literature or recorded information on how the Isiolo governor-elect decided to venture into active politics in Nairobi though his prowess of working with and mobilizing youth and women groups was notably attested to by many among his peers and Nairobi elders from his former Matopeni ward who described him as dedicated and selfless leader whose personalities and actions knows no tribal boundaries.
From the existing records, Abdi ventured into politics when he was only 25 years old. He contested and won Matopeni Spring Valley ward councilor seat in 2007 and surprised many on how he floored several other competitors from dominants community in the ward.
Even at the onset of devolution, five years later, he vied on TNA tickets and won again and became the Minority Leader in the Nairobi county assembly from 2013-2017 under the first Governor Evans Kidero and perfectly played his representation, legislation and oversight roles of keeping on toes the Nairobi executives by whistleblowing and fighting any grafts and executives excesses both in the city hall chamber and outside. These efforts earned him a name and place among the jubilee party top brass including the President Uhuru Kenyatta himself making the duo to become ultimate friends and thereby trusting him with Jubilee party agenda in the assembly because of his imbued loyalty, hard work and abrasive approach.
In 2017 general election, he defended his seat again for third consecutive times and was re-elected on a Jubilee party ticket and immediately elected unopposed as the Majority leader – another new record never attained by someone from small tribe and Cushitic background in highly populated Nairobi City.
He served his Matopeni ward residents well and played his role in the assembly to the best of his abilities becoming bosom friend and close confidant to former Governor Mike Sonko until their relationship was soiled and hit rock bottom in October 2019 due to unfair onslaught and unnecessary fight on him by the governor who succeeded in mobilization of MCAs against him to whip him off his majority seat for six month after which the youthful legislator fought back with all the zeal of pastoralist determination and clinched back his position and sent panic waves among the executive and the governor himself. Later, the city refined politician played a significant role in mobilization of Nairobi county MCAs – a move that led to impeachment of Governor Sonko and he subsequently chaired the Appointments committee that oversaw the vetting and approval of Anne Kananu as deputy governor of Nairobi and later as Governor following Sonko’s ouster.
Before settling for Isiolo governorship race, Hon Guyo had declared his interest to vie for the Embakasi Central parliamentary seat and had even embarked on campaigns with a clear sign of winning but deciding to take a U-turn and showed interest to crossover to his birthplace and provide the needed leadership after the declaration by the former governor Dr Mohamed Kuti to retire from active politics on health ground. This move caught many by surprise resulting into mixed reaction both from far and wide.
He quickly assembled his campaign team and with precision built his winning alliance that displayed the face of the county before hitting the roads for aggressive campaign which had just delivered their celebrated victory on the 9th of August.
This young legislator has made History once again by becoming the first MCA to clinch a Governor seat in the republic – an uncharted path and route less travelled since many of his colleagues have opted to use the long way of vying for National Assembly and Senate seats, before going for gubernatorial positions. The city breed politician has rich history of never losing an election from the onset of his political career. He is now the governor-elect of Isiolo county comprising of 10 wards and two sub counties; Isiolo North and Isiolo South.
Following his victory, the governor elect has already shared out his desire and vision to improve livelihoods and ensure a better quality of life for all residence of Isiolo County regardless of their tribal background or political inclination. He thanked and pledged to serve all residents diligently regardless of whether they voted for him or not.
My partings shots to governor – elect whom I am very confident will deliver on his campaign manifesto are as follows:-
Your Excellency, as you have already known, Isiolo County has a cosmopolitan population thus hosting mosaic of culture with Borana, Turkana, Samburu, Meru, Sakuye, Gabra, and Somali being the main ethnic groups in the region. Therefore, it is imperative for your leadership to promote inclusive governance by bringing all communities together and ensuring equal representation in sharing of county cake and economic power at the executive and more so in resources distribution and service delivery regardless of their recent voting patterns.
Isiolo County – is historically the gateway to northern Kenya and vision 2030 blue print has earmarked Isiolo as the home to the first resort city in order to optimize its rich tourism potential. The project is expected to turn Isiolo town into a regional hub thereby, attracting economic activities and investments that will open up the entire northern region. Thus let your CIDP, ADP and all other developmental plans goes in tandem with this vision to fast track its realization.
Again, your government should, within the frameworks of the land policy and relevant legislation carry out land adjudication aimed at issuance of title deeds to the rightful owners within the shortest time possible and embark also on tarmacking of Isiolo – Merti road as promised during your campaign.
The notable drivers and factors exacerbating recent conflicts in Isiolo seem to include: – the fragility of the ecosystem, bad governance, biting rural poverty and weakened livelihood systems due to effects of climate change. This too, let’s put up intervention and mitigation strategies in order to minimize them by educating herders and farmers on adoption of alternatives livelihoods methods compliant with the prevailing circumstances and harnessing livestock value chain robustly by making use of international airport and abattoir at our doorstep. It is also imperative that greater civic education, advocacy and sensitization campaigns around peaceful co-existence be undertaken to ensure that the communities in Isiolo fully understand and appreciate the benefits of staying together in harmony and position themselves to reap the economic windfalls from your governance. Finally, lets youth and women remain the Centre stage of all your plans and developmental endeavors.
Bilinga Is Information Scientist and Security Studies Scholar from the Northern Part of Kenya.