With only 39 days remaining to the much hyped August 8th elections, the Jubilee administration has established new administrative units including eight sub-counties, a number of divisions and locations across Kenya.
Opposition leaders in the area have raised concerns saying the creation of new districts is a ploy to rig the upcoming elections. New districts means more AP police and we know in 2007 Mungiki militia were deployed as AP police and we all know how that ended.
Bura East, Tiaty East, Kotulo, Oloililai, Elanga’ata-Wuas are among the latest new sub-counties created by the interior ministry. Others are Bananey, Tongaren and Igambang’ombe.
This unexpected turn-of-events has been received with shock by residents of Northern Counties of Wajir and Mandera, many questioning the motive behind the move just days to the general elections.
It is an obvious fact that the Muslim community is in NASA and have vowed not to vote Uhuru Jubilee mainly due extra judicial killings and neglect of the region.
In Wajir County, Bananey was declared a Sub County by the Interior Minister Joseph Ole Nkaissery with its headquarters to be in Sarif town , attracting dismay from a section of the Ogaden community.
Residents have squarely put the blame on a powerful leader from the area, accusing him of using his office and political connections to create more locations within his backyard only.
“We know the invisible hand behind this dubious scheme. He has created 6 locations and 6 sub locations for his Maqabul sub-clan of the Ogaden community ignoring the other sub-clans,” a visibly angry Suleiman Hassan Noor told Wajir Chronicles by phone.
“During President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to Wajir he gave instructions that Diif, Korondile and Hadado should be made the new Sub Counties. This is blatant insubordination of the presidential directive that will likely lead to disharmony among communities and people that have lived together for long,” he reiterated.
During the Presidents last visit to the county, in a bid to woo more support for his Jubilee Alliance, he had announced that the three divisions will be fully upgraded into Sub Counties.
Many are now perturbed by the sudden emergence of Bananey ahead of the other much more developed and bigger divisions. Diif is mainly inhabited by the Mohammed Zubeir sub-clan of the Ogaden community.
Many residents of Diif, Korondile and Hadado whom Wajir Chronicles spoke to have vowed not to support the ruling Jubilee government in protest of this blatant injustice, saying they now believe Raila Odinga’s constant assertions that Jubilee never fulfills its promise to Kenyans.
Local political pundits say the ad hoc creation of new districts is a continuation of the government’s political manipulation of local development which in turn undermines the impact of the extensive resources channeled through the districts and decentralized structures.
“The local administrative system in pastoralist communities is characterized by inadequate capacity, and the declaration of new districts has only exacerbated the situation,” said Mohamud Abdow.
A local politician, who requested anonymity, said this development has caused a sudden rift within the Ogaden community with Mohammed Zubeir sub-clan feeling over looked by this intentional snub of Diif in favor of Bananey.
“Most locations were proposed by local leaders and elders but were not taken and now this has been done selectively. To our dismay majority of the newly named locations belong to the Ibrahim Sub-Section of the Makabul sub-clan. This is outrageous,” he quipped.
Districts are referred to as sub-counties in the 2010 constitution which heralded a new national government administrative structure that replaced the colonial provincial administration.
In the Kenya Gazette, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery said he created the new administrative units with the approval of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The units, Nkaissery said, will enhance co-ordination of national government functions and service delivery at the grassroots.
Accusing fingers point at regional coordinator Mohamud Saleh who hails from the area and is expected to offer logistical support to Uhuru’s Jubilee in the upcoming August polls.
On the other hand, Degodias are likely to gravitate wholesomely towards NASA and abandon Jubilee after Hadado and Malkamari in Wajir and Mandera respectively, were suspiciously overlooked.
For Hadado’s case, this is likely to be viewed by residents as a direct jab towards the opposition leaning incumbent Governor Ahmed Abdullahi, a Degodia himself and Raila Odinga’s point man in the volatile province.
“The few Degodia’s from the Mantaan sub-clan who inhabit Wajir West and support Jubilee will most likely abandon the ruling alliance after this blatant snub by President Uhuru’s government. Hadado is the biggest, the oldest and was at the tip of the pecking order,” said Abdow.
With elections slated for August 8th, Kenya has always experienced periodic, localized flare-ups that usually coincide with electoral cycles and decisions like this are likely to boil up emotions.
North Eastern’s clan factor plays a major role in bringing together the vast pastoral communities. Majority of the gubernatorial aspirants have come up with line-ups that appear inclusive and diverse.
This political deal-making has yielded a welcoming albeit superficial calm. A transactional electoral pact is a fragile base upon which to build a lasting peace, and Jubilee seems to have thrown this into oblivion with this latest announcement.
In Mandera, a section of the residents are reportedly planning to file an injunction with the courts of law to challenge the creation of locations in areas inhabited only by one community while ignoring the rest.
Degodias in Mandera are unhappy that Malkamari was by passed in favor of Kotulo.
“All locations created are within the Garre community areas, a scenario that has completely sidelined the Murules, Degodias and other corner tribes in the county,” said Omar Rashid Ali, a local analyst. “In Wajir where Degodias are the majority they were given nothing, while in Mandera they have been sidelined.”
President Uhuru’s party, steered in the region by parliamentary majority leader Aden Duale, is facing its toughest elections after opposition stalwart Raila Amolo Odinga teamed up with equally powerful partners Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi, Moses Wetangula and Isaac Rutto to form NASA.
Many in the region view Nkaissery’s announcement a miscalculation that is destined to backfire and lead to massive walkout from Jubilee Alliance.
Under the new devolution system, the 47 counties run by governors and assemblies receive significant resources, giving them substantial patronage power but interference from the national government is said to constantly slow down their activities.
This article was first published in the Wajir Chronicles