Gloves off: Two Kenya Kwanza Parties Scramble for Garissa Township seat

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  • Independent sources claimed President Ruto has placed his bet on both Roba and Duale for whoever delivers Garissa Township seat.

By Adieri Mulaa

Gloves are off as two Kenya Kwanza Alliance parties scramble for Garissa Township parliamentary seat in the January 5, 2023 by-election.

A fierce political rivalry has emerged between Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale and Mandera Senator Ali Roba, the leader of United Democratic Movement (UDM) party as campaigns approach the home stretch.

The campaigns are at full throttle for the seat which fell vacant following Mr Duale’s appointment to the Cabinet. Duale has been elected for four consecutive terms, each on a different political party.

Early December, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) cleared six candidates to run for the seat. They are Maj. (Rtd) Mohamed Barrow Dekow on UDA ticket, Mr Nassir Mohamed Dolal aka Jofle of UDM, Mr Ibrahim Malow (Narc Kenya), Mr Muhiadin Abdirashid (DAP-K), Mr Abdifaisal Amin (ODM) and Mr Abdikarim Osman of Democratic Party (DP)

Insiders on the campaigns trail say President William Ruto’s UDA party faces an uphill task in its bid to lock out or tame the UDM party led by Mandera Senator Ali Roba from Garissa politics.

Accordingly, Duale has thrown all his political weight behind Maj.(Rtd) Dekow who faces a tough battle from Dolal. Mr Dolal will be making a fourth attempt to capture the seat since 2013.

He previously ran on the ODM ticket. During the August 9 General Election, he finished second with 5,980 votes against, Mr Duale’s 9,980. He has now ditched ODM for the UDM party.

In the arena, there is a high notch political power war between President Ruto’s UDA and Senator Roba’s UDM, both of Kenya Kwanza Alliance.

Various candidates have accused the Defense CS of using his Defence portfolio to threaten and intimidate other candidates. They want him to keep off the by-election and Garissa politics.

Addressing a campaign rally on Sunday, December 25, after a football tournament he had organized, Narc Kenya candidate Ibrahim Malow slammed Duale for involving himself in Garissa politics while he held a sensitive docket.

“It is not ethical and it is not right where the Defence Cabinet Secretary is publicly available, politicking and threatening other people. That is not what KDF is involved in”, Malow said in terse statement while addressing his supporters.

On Christmas Day, Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale and the Vice Chief of Defence Forces Lieutenant General Francis Ogolla (centre) visited Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) troops serving under the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) at sector six headquarters, Somalia to boost their morale and commemorate the festive season with them in their operation areas. Photo: Courtesy KDF 

The UDM party leaders led by Senator Roba have also pitched tent in the Constituency as they plot a final assault to win the seat. The party operatives confirmed that its leadership would pitch tent in Garissa Township until the election day.

The campaigns are expected to intensify in the coming days as the two rival camps of UDM and UDA aim to out wit each other. However, it remains to be seen whether Duale will stick to the rules of the game, now that he is in a new dispensation as Defence Cabinet Secretary.

Our sources close to Senator Roba say he has maintained that since President Ruto did not consider him or his party for appointment to the Cabinet or other top government positions, he had every right to field a candidate in the Garissa Township constituency by-election.

Under the circumstances, Independent sources claimed President Ruto had placed his bet on both Roba and Duale for whoever delivers Garissa Township seat.

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