Three midshipmen seek to oust Kuti as governor race takes shape
Three wannabes seek to dethrone Isiolo governor Mohamed Kuti in next year’s general election.
Dr Kuti hopes to use his four years of service marked by multi-million shillings plans to win over voters and give him a second term.
Some of the projects include the county seat, a modern market and a stadium funded in part by his administration.
It also boasts of the creation of a municipality which has attracted funding from the World Bank, which has improved public lighting and roads in the town of Isiolo.
The governor adopted the slogan “Shanesa” (Borana for the fifth) – he has been elected to the seats of deputy, senator and governor since 2002, a four-term equivalence at the head, and he is now running for a fifth term.
Kuti, who belongs to the Sakuye clan, defeated then governor Godana Doyo and Devolution’s CAS Abdul Bahari after gaining the most support from the Meru community in the 2017 polls. Le Meru, unlike the election previous, did not present a candidate.
Kuti backed Doyo in 2013, but former URP allies fell out two years later.
The division between the populated Borana clan who split their votes also helped Kuti in 2017 when he used the slogan “Afuresa”, meaning fourth term after leaving the Senate seat.
This time around, Kuti’s biggest challenge will be a candidate from Meru, the third largest community in the county.
The Meru community had resolved to present a candidate, accusing Kuti of treason after he promised them “proportionate” employment and distribution of resources through procurement, according to former Bulapesa MCA Moses Githenji .
Paul Murunga, 57, a businessman with a degree in economics from York University in Canada, says he will be on the ballot in the 2022 general election.
“With all the billions of shillings received from the national government, there is no tangible development on the ground. This man has no zeal for this work and must be kicked out,” Murunga said.
He says that if elected he will ensure a fair distribution of resources and fight insecurity.
He says the county will not thrive with the insecurity that has claimed more than 100 lives in two years due to banditry and cattle rustling.
The Borana clans, through the council of elders, have organized a series of meetings aimed at uniting the aspirants of the two main clans of Karayu and Warjida.
From Warjida, the heavyweights seeking clan approval are former Governor Doyo and Mohammed Huka, a senior executive at a travel agency.
Huka holds a PhD in Organizational Leadership and an MA in Sociology from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and University of Nairobi, respectively.
The Karayu candidates are Halakhe Waqo, former director general of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and Bahari, who twice ran for the seat without success.
Sources say, however, that the ancient Karayu are keen to collect fresh blood this time around.
The elders’ plan, according to the two separate meetings chaired by Abdullahi Gonjobe and Hussein Abduba, is for the community to come up with a “salable” candidate.
The Warjida insist that the seat was previously theirs and that they should be allowed to complete their term.
The Karayu, however, gathered the elders of the five clans of the Borana community in the town of Isiolo last Thursday and dismissed the meeting of elders at Kinna as “non-inclusive, untimely and without blessing” from all elders.
Abduba blamed colleagues who attended Kinna’s meeting chaired by Gonjobe, saying the process of identifying a compromise candidate had not been concluded.
The Borana aspirants had attended a separate meeting called by elders, professionals and MPs Hassan Oda and Rehema Jaldesa where they decided to abide by a unanimous verdict that would be reached by the council.
Kuti will have a deadly battle for his new slogan to be successful and prays that the Borana side fail to field a candidate, as a united front on their part and a Meru in the race will kill his chances.
If the Borana fail to unite and Doyo, Wako and Bahari find themselves in the race alongside Sakuye’s Kuti, the beneficiary could end up being Murunga if he manages to mobilize the support of the Turkana (second largest voting block), the Samburu and other migrant communities.