By Fuad Abdirahman
Aden Duale is an anxious man. His influence is on the wane. The entry of Farah Maalim into the Garissa Township MP race significantly threatens his chances of another stint as MP.
In his homecoming party at the Islamic school of Salam in Garissa months after he was sworn in as MP, Duale will be remembered for blasting the teachers who had organised the event for “choosing their son Maalim over him. “…Now that Uhuru has given me a bigger job, you want my support,” he rapped.
Unimpressed, one of the teachers is alleged to have warned him of Uhuru’s capacity to elevate Maalim in his stead come 2017, just as he had done with him.
Since his election, Duale has credited much of his political success to the Jubilee government, with little recognition of the role played by his constituents.
“I am so much indebted to this man. I can do anything for Ruto and Uhuru under the sun,” he said sometimes back.
Anab Osman, a local, says such words from the person she elected as an MP in 2013 annoy her. Paul Muite, a constitutional lawyer, says feelings of indebtedness regardless, the powers conferred on him by the Constitution are great, and neither Hon Duale nor any other elected leader can afford to be anyone’s sycophant.
The entry of a sworn enemy and another political bigwig in Farah has totally disoriented Duale. Observers note reduced criticism of the opposition leader Raila Odinga. In a calculated move, Farah moved from ODM party to Wiper party in order to attract the Kamba vote which estimated to make over 10 per cent of the electorate in Garissa Township – a move similar to that of Garissa Governor Nathif Jama, running on the Wiper ticket, successfully applied in 2013.
Duale’s reckless words directed at the Kamba community and other clans hunting him down compound his problem. In an unverified audio clip that secured him a date with the CID, Duale is alleged to have directed his kinsmen to chase the Kamba community living in Garissa seen to be favouring Farah.
But the problem between Duale and the Kamba community did not start here. It is alleged that he once urged the Al Shabaab, in the height of their attacks in Kenya at Eastleigh, to shift focus to Machakos instead. Duale’s suggestion rubbed many the wrong way.
The MP also has a bad habit of publicly elevating his own clan at the expense of other clans living Garissa. He has also been accused of favouring them in public appointments, a factor that puts him at loggerheads with other clan’s, particularly Farah Maalim’s.
Amongst his own clan too, Duale is seen to be hogging the only leadership opportunity awarded his sub-clan, to the disadvantage of other ambitious clan members. Clans in Garissa were to only contest a single seat in order to give room for other related sub clans. But some quarters see Duale’s clan to be taking all elective posts.
Ali Bunow Korane, who is vying for the governor’s seat for Garissa County, and Abdikadir Aden, who is seeking re-election in Balambala, have been forced to reconsider their positions as they hail from the same sub clan. In fact, a crisis is brewing with none of the contestants willing to forego their ambition in order that negotiated democracy may succeed. Clan elders are split down the middle.
In October, Abdikadir decried Duale’s activities in his constituency.
“Duale, in his attempts to run away from political problems in Garissa Township, ends up inspecting Balambala CDF projects as Jubilee projects,” he lamented.
Despite Duale’s support for the Jubilee aspirant for Garissa governor Ali Bunow Korane – his kinsman with whom he also shares close family ties – it is alleged that the two have fallen out on a number of issues, including the question of should be the clan lynchpin. It should be remembered that Aden supported Governor Jama in the last election and not Ali Bunow who was also contesting, and it rumoured that he is in fact supporting his re-election secretly despite displaying otherwise in public.
Maalim says he that has all it takes to defeat Duale. “All indications are that I will carry the day easily” he told RTN Somalia TV in a recent interview. He warns that Duale’s only plan of winning is to rig. “I know Duale is planning to steal using state machinery, but that is not going happen.”
Farah claims that Duale wanted to use officials who stole votes from Nasir Jofle, his opponent in 2013, and warns the IEBC against falling for it.
“Duale gave a list of returning and presiding officers for Garissa Township to IEBC, the same ones who rigged for him in 2013. Not this time,” says Farah.
Duale’s victory in 2013 was mired with controversy. On the night he was announced winner, a loud explosion went off, sending many of the people at the pooling station to scamper for safety. Many associate this explosion to the sudden lead Duale built shortly after. ^