Ex-governor Jama, former Lagdera MP Shidiye set to face incumbent Korane in top seat contest

Thursday, September 9th, 2021 00:00 |
Governor Ali Korane.

Former Garissa Governor Nathif Jama and former Lagdera MP Mohamed Shidiye are set to challenge incumbent Ali Korane in the gubernatorial seat contest next year after the duo were separately endorsed by the Aulihan clan elders.

Jama lost the seat to Korane in 2017 while Shidiye, now High Commissioner to Namibia, lost the parliamentary seat to Mohamed Hire.

On June 6, Shidiye was unanimously endorsed by his Aulihan clan of the larger Ogaden community, setting the stage for an epic battle with Jama and Korane.

In 2017, Korane, who was vying on a Jubilee Party ticket, garnered 59,871 votes to beat Jama of Wiper party, who got 55,156 votes.

“It’s with great honour and humility that I accept the clearance of my gubernatorial bid application, I made two years ago by Aulihan clan,” Shidiye told People Daily on Monday.

“In June, the tradition council of elders (CoE), professionals, elders, youth and women from the larger Aulihan clan met at my residence in Garissa town to decide their future.

After a lengthy discussion, the family spoke in one voice and endorsed me as the candidate for the Garissa governor race.”

Approached community

Shidiye has also approached the Samawadal community for endorsement.

Jama was separately endorsed on January 30 by nine sub-clans of the Aulihan to wrestle the seat from Korane.

Elders attended the January meeting from the nine sub-clans of Aulihan clan, traditional leaders, youth and women who pledged to support his bid.

Garissa county is predominantly occupied by the Ogaden clan of the Somali community alongside the Aulihan, Abduwak and Samawathal.

Sultan Hamud Sheikh from the clan said Jama’s endorsement was the culmination of a series of meetings between the elders and residents.

“As a community, we have unanimously agreed to have Jama as our sole candidate for the governor seat,” Sheikh said.

“Going forward, we will rally our communities to back him. We will also ask him to reach out to other communities residing in the county for support,” he added.

Ongoing negotiations 

Bishar Gure, who read the declaration, said the endorsement was done “in the best interest of the larger Aulihan community and the people of Garissa county.”

“In making this declaration, the meeting made a solemn request to all other Aulihan persons who have shown interest in the seat to support Jama,” Gure said.

Jama welcomed the trust the elders had bestowed on him, saying “the journey to recapture the seat has just started” even as he downplayed the entry of Shidiye who by then had not declared interest.

“I want to sincerely thank the elders and my larger community for giving me one more chance.

Now I can go looking for votes from other communities knowing well that I have those from my community under lock and key,” Jama said.

However, there are rumours of an ongoing negotiations to have Shidiye step down for Jama, which the former denied.

“I will not step down for anybody for whatever reasons,” Shidiye said.

The elders’ endorsement is likely to be a repeat of the 2013 and 2017 political contest between Korane (Abduwak clan) and Jama (Aulihan).

However, Korane is also facing an uphill task of convincing his Abduwak clan to support him for a second term in office after Maj (rtd) Dekow Mohamed Barrow emerged as a favourite to face off with a candidate from Aulihan clan.

Elders cite various reasons they want Korane dropped in favour of Barrow, including a graft case he and his county officials are facing over a Sh233 million World Bank-funded Kenya Urban Support Programme project.

 Garissa county has a total population of 841,353 persons of which 458,975 are males, 382,344 females, according to the 2019 census.

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