Col. (Rtd) Dido Ali Raso : An undisputable King Maker and a King just in Waiting

By , August 30, 2022 6:59 pm
Col. (Rtd) Hon. Dido Ali Raso

The man who delivered two counties and 5 out of 6 constituencies together with his troops for Dr William Samoe Ruto against all odds in just concluded general election in Kenya deserves Cabinet Secretary Slot after the ongoing presidential election results petition hopefully if the ruling favors Kenya Kwanza Coalition.

Dido Ali Raso was a man loved and hated by many – a man who has pulled friends and foes on equal measures because of his action or inactions. A soft spoken but towering figure – a firm and principled politician who can’t be swayed easily once he has made up his mind. A go-getter and engine behind the success of Kenya Kwanza victory in upper eastern region especially in Marsabit and Isiolo County.

It all began early this year when Marsabit county governor H. E Mohamud Ali made a move to join Azimio Coalition headed by Rt Hon Raila Amollo Odinga together with his team and their counterpart from Mandera County under the banner of newly coined United Democratic Party (UDM) chaired by former Governor of Mandera county H. E Captain Ali Roba. This move literally left Dr William Ruto of Kenya Kwanza Presidential flag bearer without notable footage in the entire upper eastern counties.

True to the adage which goes that leaders are born out of crisis, Col. (Rtd) Dido Ali Raso stood tall, resisted the temptation to move by the seemingly sweeping political waves and euphoric but quickly embarked on stepping into the huge gaps left by his colleagues who divorced his friend Dr William Ruto at the wee hour when he needed them most.

He came out boldly, poked holes and accused both via local radio stations and in community forums the move by his colleague leaders from the region as act of cowardice who placed their own myopic interest in front of their wider communal one.  Though they were friends even before, his courage and firmness drew him even closer to Kenya Kwanza top leaders earning him a loyalty award that saw him being appointed as UDA campaign coordinator for the entire upper eastern region comprising of Marsabit and Isiolo counties alongside Hon Canon Naomi Jillo Wako – a nominated senator then and close confidant of the Deputy President Dr William Samoe Ruto.

Shortly afterward, the general rolled up his sleeves, assembled his troops and hit the ground running to fetch as many votes as possible for his Kenya Kwanza coalition. To counter the effect of the move by his colleagues leaders who decamped to Azimio Coalition and busy propagating new Azimio Anthem across the county, he quickly poached from Jubilee party an affiliate to Azimio coalition Commissioner Kello Harsama – a refined career civil servant by then serving as CAS Agriculture eyeing Marsabit gubernatorial seat and the Former Majority leader of Marsabit county assembly Hon Halkano Konso Ali – another flamboyant, eloquent orator, people’s darling and ground mobilizer who has shown interest to defend his Uran Ward seat. Hon Canon Naomi Jillo Waqo who was a nominated senator in the 12th parliament and eyeing the affirmative seat of women representative in 2022 general election came in handy because of her loyalty to her party and its leadership and they together, for the purpose of building winning alliance, looped in Hon Mohamed Chute – a reputable business man, easy going and benevolent by nature, former classmate with Hon Raso and diehard critic of both the first and the second Governors on oversight endeavors. Chute hails from Burji community which was among the small tribe in the county but known for playing crucial roles in county politics since the onset of devolution due to their bee like-organization and campaign financial muscles.

The UDA team under the tutelage and the command of one Col. (Rtd) Dido Ali Raso embarked on filling the rest of the seats, established elaborative campaign strategies and activities, assigned each of their generals duties to be roll out as individuals and collectively among the various wards, constituencies and sub counties. They run spirited campaign, made inroads into every corner of the counties and villages to maximize impacts and political returns by cascading Team Hustlers gospel deep and wide.

Fast forward, after the lengthy bruising and exhausting campaign season, Col. (Rtd) Dido Ali troops delivered several goodies for their party and for the hustler nation of Kenya Kwanza coalition despite many hurdles and resources that rained on them from both the county and national government to cripple their move and plans. Though they lost their bid on gubernatorial race, the troop secured the Senate seat, Women Representative seats, Saku Mp seat while they also scooped several Members of county assembly seats including Uran Ward seat where the battle to unseat the former majority leader Hon Halkano Konso was loudly felt and heard and above all, the team delivered both Marsabit and Isiolo Counties against all odds for their party – an outcome that took many by surprise.

Total votes garnered across the two counties and the 6 sub counties as per IEBC records.

Cumulatively, Dr William Samoea Ruto scooped 58,782 votes translating into (51.16%) of the total vote cast in Marsabit county against his close challenger Rt Hon Raila Amollo Odinga who garnered 55,675 votes equivalent to (48.45%).

For instance, Saku constituency which is home to Hon Col.(Rtd) Dido Ali Raso, Kenya Kwanza Flag bearer Dr William Samoei  Ruto won with landslide by garnering 13,198 votes translating to (62.76%) of the total vote cast while Rt Hon Raila Amollo odinga his counterpart of Azimio Coalition garnered 7,759  translating to (36.89%).

Moyale constituency had 66,408 total number of registered voters while those who cast their votes are 44,545 out of which Dr William Samoei Ruto scooped 23,768 votes translating to (53.36%) while his close competitor Rt Hon Raila odinga of Azimio Coalition polled 20,595 equivalent to  (46.23%). In Laisamis constituency too, Dr William Samoei Ruto garnered 18,776 votes translating into a whooping (81.51%) of the total votes cast while his Azimio counterpart Rt Hon Raila odinga pulled paltry 4,161 votes equivalents to (18.06%).  It is only in North Horr constituency where Rt Hon Raila odinga won with 23,160 (88.08%) of vote cast against Dr William Samoei Ruto who garnered 3,040 votes (11.56%) and this strange outcome was attributed to the effects of one CS Amb Ukur Yattani and several goodies he has successfully pulled for his community including the birth of several new sub counties the last batch being gazetted paltry 5 days to the general election seemingly to lure votes for Azimio coalition.

Col. (Rtd) Dido Ali Raso’s Majic Spell that delivered Isiolo County

Away from Marsabit County, Col.(Rtd) Dido Ali Raso, again delivered Isiolo County for Dr William Samoea Ruto to a tune of 32,302 votes equivalent of (54.77%) of the total vote cast against his close competitor Rt Hon Raila Amollo Odinga who garnered 26,449 votes translating to 44.85%. This happened against the notable efforts of the young, vibrant and politically very calculative Jubilee Gubernatorial Aspirant then and now the Governor of Isiolo county H. E Abdi Guyo move to solidify Isiolo Votes for Azimio One Kenya Alliance.

Many may be tempted to ask which majic spell did Col.(Rtd) Dido Ali Raso used for this colourful outcome at Isiolo County, the answer is simple, He pulled out UDA gubernatorial aspirant one Hussein Tenne in favor of pioneer Isiolo County Governor Godana Adhi Doyo who had formidable alliance and compact majority of borana rich votes. The pulling out of Hussein Tenne was reached after behind the scene deal cut spearheaded by Hon Raso and some lead borana elders on the condition that the Doyo led team though vying on independent ticket should support and vote in favor of Kenya Kwanza presidential candidates Dr William Samoea Ruto an agreement which was reached unanimously by the two team which has been competing before.

That is majorly how Isiolo vote base was tilted in favor of Kenya Kwanza party though there are other minor factors in play thus giving Dr William Ruto a soft landing and later a win in both constituencies under Isiolo county as follows:- In Isiolo north, Dr William Samoe Ruto garnered 22,847 vote translating into (53.40%) while Rt. Hon Raila Amollo Odinga pulled 19,753 votes equivalent to (46.17%) of the total vote cast and the same picture was replicated in Isiolo South Constituency in which Dr William Ruto garnered 9,455 vote translating to (58.38%) and his close counterpart Rt Hon Raila Amollo Odinga polled 6,696 votes equivalent to (41.34%) of the total vote cast.

Away from the initial assignments given, Again Col. (Rtd) Dido Ali Raso played crucial role in just ended Mombasa Gubernatorial race by drumming support for his UDA aspirant among his cushites communities residing around coastal area – a regional historically perceived as Rt Hon Raila Amollo Odinga strong hold. Even though they narrowly lost, UDA candidate garner over 98,105 Votes demystifying the past perceptions of predictability of coastal communities voting pattern.

It is for this reason that many analyst, political pundits, upper eastern communities in general and his borana community in particular, are now eagerly waiting for the President Elect – H. E Dr William Samoe Ruto to Acknowledge, Surprise, Salute and Reciprocate the good work done by Col. (Rtd) Dido Ali Raso and his troops by picking him as one of the Cabinet Minister under his government hopefully if the ongoing Presidential results petition rules in their favor.

Who is this Col. (Rtd) Dido Ali Raso?

Dido Ali Raso was born on 23rd October 1961 at a time when the glamour for self-rule and fight for independence was at its climax. Because of the above, he was welcomed to this world when there is a lot of push and pull on his communities thus forced them to migrate frequently between Waso rangeland through Yamich plains, Lag Lokho Plateaus, Saku highland, Did Galgallu Grassland all the way to Obbu, Golbo and sometimes penetrated far into Southern Ethiopia. This unprecedented movement and shift wasn’t the normal nomadic pastoralism as such but rather precipitated by shifta war and at times because of unfriendly colonial policies on livestock and livestock herders which the communities strongly detasted thus moving away from any presence of colonial administrators. To date, often you hear elders using a phrase like (gaaf oftee guuba dheet) to make reference to their past pattern of movement nostalgically.

Stability enjoyed across the country after independence led some section of borana – a community from which Col. (Rtd) Dido Ali hails from to settle on the eastern slope of Mt Marsabit which is today Manyatta Jillo – Gar Qarsa zone of Sagante/Jaldesa Ward where he grew up and began his formative studies. His leadership traits manifested itself from when he was in his tender age by how he passionately and dutifully look after his parents and uncles herds as a young shepherd.

Among the pastoralist communities, there is this old adage which goes “Jibicha korma ta’u haada irraatti beekhan” loosely translated as (a calf that will become a bull is known from the beginning). Right after his O’level studies, he joined Kenya Defence force where he was trained as army officer before ascending up the ladder and reached colonel status commanding over 600 troops. Besides offering exceptional service with utmost respect and an unmatchable discipline, Col. (Rtd) Dido Ali Raso also equally advanced his education endeavors by enrolling for various courses at different institutions at different time. As of to date, He is a graduate from the University of Nairobi, also graduated with MA in Defence studies from King’s College London (1999) and MBA from the Open University in 2003.

 The career and decorated military officer switched off to active politics a decade ago at the onset of devolution after serving in several peace keeping missions both at regional and international levels. His first stab at politics was in 2013 when he vied for Saku parliamentary seat on United Republic Party ticket and won with landslide against the incumbent Hon Hussein Tari Sasura. He again successfully defended his seat in 2017 general election on Jubilee ticket and won easily without much hurdles alongside delivering gubernatorial candidate for his borana community after he dismembered REGABU alliance used by the pioneer governor of Marsabit county Amb Ukur Kanacho.

He perfectly represented his constituency in August house with precision of trained Army general while serving in different house committees including in the departmental committee on Defence and Foreign relation. He is a seasoned politician and active debator in both the 11th and 12th Parliament. Though his 1st term was a smooth sailing for him, his 2nd term was however characterized by instability and insecurity that led to several loss of lives, livestock and displacement of cross section of his electorates something which he boldly blamed on the government and accused them of negligence and laxity due to local leaders political inclination toward the deputy president.

Below excerpt was one of his contributions on the welfare of veteran KDF officers as pulled from Parliamentary Hazard:-

Thank you, Hon. Temporary Deputy Chairman. I support this amendment. The strength of the KDF, now and in the future, will very much be dictated by how we look after veterans and their families. Any attempts within this Bill or the future Act to discriminate against a particular group will not sit well with young serving members aged 19 or 20 years old. They are young men and women. For that reason, the amendment that the Chairman of the Departmental Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations has proposed is good, and I support it”

As results of the instability attributed to political supremacy for county top seats that seems to have put wedge among different communities leading to bloodshed and constant clashes in which his constituency of Saku was an epicenter, Col. (Rtd) Dido Ali Raso faced stiff competition in just concluded August election in which he faced off with six other competitors. Unlike in the past two elections, he experienced a tortuous and difficult campaign journey due to growing protest from his backyard which seems people yearning for change further fueled by resources poured by county cartels and its leadership who positioned themselves to uproot his politics.

These fight and the shift of allegiance from the wealthy and county cartels was a blessing in disguise for the general who ended up harvesting rich votes from the majority poor and ‘the have not’ who never wanted to be guided by or side with those unscrupulous tenderpreneurs who has shielded and created permanent wall between the leaders and the people. True to his party hustler narratives, the majority of the innocent and poor were webbed thus resulting into unprecedented record breaking victory by trouncing his closest competitor a top medic in the region Dr Waqo Dulacha Ejersa of Jubilee Party with over 700 votes and became 3rd term legislator for Saku Constituency – a new record in history of Saku which has never given leaders more than two terms.

After result announcement

After the Constituency Returning officer, Simeon Sanchan declared him the winner; he quickly addressed the jubilant crowds and pledged to embrace development projects and work to improve people’s lives. The MP-elect promised to work with his opponents, calling them to bring the ideas they have for the betterment of the constituents, assuring residents that he will fulfill pledges he made during campaign. He further assured the residents that he will serve them equally regardless of their political affiliation or tribe by making sure that the resources are shared evenly across the constituency.

He is truly a king maker and a king in Waiting!

Diba Kosi Bilinga
Bilinga Is Information Scientist and Gender Advocate from the Northern Part of Kenya