2027 SECRET POLITICAL ‘DEAL CUT’ WILL ECLIPSE 2022 GUBERNATORIAL RACE & ELECTION OUTCOMES IN MARSABIT COUNTY.
2022 gubernatorial race has attracted 5 new contestants against the incumbent. These new contestant include Hon Francis Chachu Ganya (Kanu), Commissioner Kello Harsama (UDA), Mr Bernard Sunya Orre (ANC), and Mr Pius Yattani Wario (UPIA).
Unlike in the last two elections of 2013 and 2017, where galvanization of communities against the other formed the basis of alliance formation, this election seems a bit different. The two dominant communities of Borana and Gabra which formed the fulcrum of competing alliance leading to supremacy battle now seems to have shift approach resulting into emergency of internal political wrangles the respective aspirants are battling with.
For instance, the incumbent governor Ali who is a Borana, is facing growing protest and discontent from his own backyard as evidence by the fact that two other contestants had emerged from his own community – Commissioner Kello Harsama and Prof Wario Guyo both poking holes to his reelection bid.
On the other hand, Gabra community too were not galvanized like in the 2013 general election thus has already attracted two contestants Hon Chachu Ganya who is North horr legislator for the last 15years and Pius Yattani a former mca for turbi ward.
Since the advent of devolution, the county’s political power play has gravitated around the dominant Borana and Gabra communities, with the support of smaller communities such as Rendille, Burji, Garre, Turkana and Sakuye. From the past record since the inception of devolution, it is crystal clear that more goodies goes to the community which the governor hails from making the gubernatorial race a matter of life and death among the dominant communities.
Governor Ali is defending the seat on the strength of his achievements the notable one being the county scholarship programme for bright but needy students, construction of Marsabit KMTC, construction of Sololo Level 4 Hospital, completion of Marsabit town’s modern market, establishment of cancer screening centre at Marsabit referral hospital and introduction of free vocational and skills training among others.
However, the above successes had been clouded by gross misappropriation of county funds, cronyism in the deployment of county workforce, demotivation of county employees, shoddy construction works, high pending bills, poor leadership and stagnated development across the county. Again His reign is characterized by blood berth which had caused over 500 lives lost, massive settlement displaced and the animosity reached fever pitch forcing the security agencies to step in by imposing ongoing curfew. Governor Ali opponents also accused him for failing to seal graft holes, often attracting the hawked eye of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.
Some pundits argued that the incumbent is facing bruising battle from Hon Francis Chachu Ganya and Commissioner Kello Harsanma. However, it calls for a lot of efforts from him to seal the internal wrangles first as he also reach to other smaller coalition partners for erecting a winning alliance which seems a bit too slippery.
Francis chachu Ganya has a glaring chance to succeed the incumbent and become the third governor of Marsabit county were it not for the candidature of Mr Pius Yattani who majority of the people view as a special candidate standing in for the interest of CS Ukur Yattani at county level for his possible future comeback thus purposely field to spoil for Chachu.
Away from this, Hon Francis Chachu seems to have pulled larger percentage of Garreh, Burji and Sakuye votes toward his camp because of his choice of lineups. His impressive track records and campaign model anchored on peaceful coexistence and equal distribution of resources has won many hearts that eye is candidature as an antidote to what ails Marsabit county for long.
In fact his growing popularity has given nightmares not only to Governor Ali but also CS Ukur Yattani forcing the duo who are initially sworn enemies to become friends overnight to an extent of sponsoring and supporting each other behind the scene. The above is evident by sentiment of CS Ukur in one of his campaign trail in which he openly asked his audience to vote for Governor Ali instead of voting for Hon Chachu Ganya if they won’t vote for his project – Hon Pius Yattani.
The juries are out in the field to piece together more evidence of future political deals cut between the two newly founded friends and the ramification of this move for the people of Marsabit since some local political analysis have already hinted about 2027 political arithmetic in play between the duo which will eclipsed this election and its outcome.
Sunya Orre candidature will have been a force to reckon with after one Lotto Segelan pull out and left him as a sole candidate from Laisamis Sub County with vote rich to a tune of 34,000. However, to date, it is not coming out clearly why the entire Rendile-Samburu block is not standing or pulling together to bring this coveted seat home. By the way, I don’t want to say, it is YOUR time to eat but in my conventional reasoning, the county is ripe for Rendile leadership after Gabra (2013) and Borana (2017) basing on the numerical strength of the dominant communities.
I am worried why the proponent of R4G went silent and left our good career civil servant alone in the cold in the middle of nowhere. Let me say this without fear or favor to our neighbors from the south, that this is your election to lose, it is your golden chance to climb to the throne and give us a new and neutral leadership which will pull down the wall of ethnic animosity that has marred cradle of mankind under both the first and the second governors. Hope the professionals, elders and youth from the holder of the stick of Gods are listening to my whispering! It is never too late to unite and put your house in order so as to win this race and claim your turn.
On his part, Commissioner Kello Harsama will easily floor the incumbent if at all he knows how to nest the growing protest and discontented voters from his borana community and extend his web of votes hunts across the breadth of the county instead of zero-grazing among his own backyard often.
Something which has also not added up well for him is the lone ranger vote’s hunts model used by his UDA Lineups especially among the Saku residents. It would have bored many dividends for them to stage aggressive campaign jointly from gubernatorial candidate, senatorial, Women rep, parliamentary all the way to respective ward MCAs. Again, I don’t want to play devil’s advocate or insinuate that their vote hunt mission was crippled by their financial muscles; however, for the benefits of doubt, it would have been better if they have organized joint dinner fund raising which will have given them a common pool from which they will have financed their campaign for more impactful results. This aside, all is not lost yet since he will still freely garner a substantial number of votes as a result of protest and shortchanged voters due to dismal performance of the incumbent.
Prof Wario is newcomer to politics and a bit too academic – though he was privileged to have had a blessing from both the head of state and borana top spiritual leader (Abba Gadaa), he is too clean and straight forward candidate who may not do well in this murky politics of handout and deceit. The brand of politics spin around for decades by our past leaders is too none academic and non-rational for our good professor who needs ample time to catch up. However, his eloquence and articulation of issues has made him to stand tall and cut a niche among his pack thus can still pull some segment of voters however small especially from Moyale Sub County.
Even though he is privileged to enjoy massive support from Treasury CS, Mr Pius Yatani, is seen by many pundits as an afterthought and a featherweight who cannot hold a big sway over his Gabbra community.
Determinant factor in this election:-
The ultimate outcome of this election will be determined by CS Ukur Yattani – this doesn’t require much wisdom. If he continues to finance and campaign for Hon Pius Yattani and the Gabra community buy this idea and vote for his project, the incumbent, Governor Ali will be sworn in by the close of polling stations. If he changes his mind and pull out his project even an hour to opening of polling stations, Hon Francis Chachu Ganya will happily and professional catwalk to the throne by the noon of the poll day.
Besides the above, a candidate with strong synergy and power to crisscross the entire county for vote hunt especially from the smaller tribes for alliance building while at the same time willing to spend with impunity is likely to clinch this seat since the prevailing circumstances at the moment due to failed April rainfall that had resulted into biting drought and hunger pangs has made the electorates so vulnerable to an extent of not allowing them to make wise and informed decision for the approaching ballot. This is the sole reason as to why the incumbent is still among the front runner despite not meeting much expectations of the voters due to his poor leadership and dismal performance.
On the power to spend too, all indicators shows that the bruising battle is and will still remain between the incumbent and Hon Francis Chachu Ganya. Besides playing safe politics since the inception of devolution, The Burji community seems to have shifted their loyalty from the incumbent toward KANU Candidate, thus once again playing a crucial role in determining and tilting the possible outcome of this August poll.
The biggest hurdles facing the incumbent Governor Ali is to quell the growing protest votes from his backyard and the power to deliver for his lineup which seems to be the hardest nut to crack for him. From the closer observation, he seems to have erred in retaining his deputy and senatorial candidate without much consultation and without doing much background checks to ascertain their current influences and their power to nest substantial votes for his reelection bids from their respective communities.
For instance, his deputy Solomon Gubo Riwe who used to be outgoing and flamboyant unionist seems to be not in right book with his burji community thus may not fetch much this time round. So is the choice of retaining eng Hargura Godana whose influence and love seems long faded may be due to his longevity of incumbency or may be because of his religious sabbatical absence from the electorates. His irrelevancy clearly manifests itself by the fact that his community has already fielded another person for the same position under other alliance and above all fielding Hon Sunya Orre for the top seat thus making the senator to be seen as an impediment to his community higher aspiration.
The Choice of former women representative Nasra Ibren from Garreh community is another huge blunder for the incumbent who is facing a lot of resistance in selling her to his borana community who are once grieved and tormented by her inflammatory comment that likened borana community to hyenas. Garreh community have fielded another women representative under UPIA alliance too and above all given Chachu Alliance senatorial candidate – a young outgoing Sheikh Selle who has whipped and won the heart of majority of Garreh for his camp.
Going per our eavesdrops gathered from streets, Hon Chachu Ganya — is still the biggest threat to the incumbent. He is viewed by many as a less-tribal leader with decades of an impressive track record – a factor that earned him recognition as one of the best performing legislators in 2021.
To the residents of Marsabit, Let’s elect servant and transformative leaderships across the spectrum of the elective seats since we deserve better leadership who will invest in peace and tranquility needed for sustainable growth that are beneficial to all. Time is ripe for political leaders to swallow their pride and drop supremacy battle so as to start engaging each other for the sake of the innocent residents whose lives had been disillusioned and hope shattered because of the prolong biting drought and community feuds.
Bilinga Is Information Scientist and Security Studies Scholar from the Northern Part of Kenya.