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WARSAMA: Somali voters lack political loyalty. Is that why they’re in every government?




For the longest time, Somalis of the formerly Northeastern Province (NEP) have traditionally been called the “AGIP” community.

AGIP is the acronym for “Any Government In Power” and is a reference to the automatic support the people of NEP tend to give to the government in power.

Multi-party affiliations have not altered this tag in the slightest. The people of the region will support the party of their choice before elections, but once a new government takes over, party affiliations are set aside as everybody climbs on the government bandwagon, hence the AGIP label.

Why is this so is not to difficult to perceive. The Somalis of NEP as a whole have previously suffered brutal atrocities as Kenyan security forces fought with shifta—the rag tag militia which was supported by Mogadishu—and armed to promote the secession of NFD in the hope that it will reunite with Somalia.

Atrocities such as the Wagalla massacre, Garissa Gubay, Malkamari and the destruction of the settlements of Isiolo left a deep trauma on the population as a whole.

The process of snapping out of this trauma and taking our rightful place in the national politic is deliberately slow and cautious.

The military atrocities are just one factor here. There’s another. Due to inter-clan rivalry— which permeates the relations between the people of Garissa, Mandera and Wajir— has created a difficult situation that makes the elusive regional political kingpin an uphill task.

This rivalry goes deeper and exists within each county’s communities. In Garissa, there’s a sharp cleavage between the Abudwaq of Aden Duale and the Awliyahan of Governor Nathif Jama. Within Abudwaq, the sub-clan is split between Duale and Ali Korane who represent the main sub branches of the group. This is replicated in Mandera and Wajir.

Aden Duale is however keen to be the regional kingpin.

Recently, he made a speech proclaiming himself as the kingpin of the Somali people; including refugees whom he asked to treat the NEP region as their home because since it’s Somali-inhabited.

Some years back, while attending the inauguration of Jubbaland State leader Ahmed Madobe, Duale said he was the leader of Somalis from NEP, Jubaland to Puntland.

In his recent speech, he vowed to defend all Somalis in Kenya including refugees in the event that they’re mistreated. It remains to be seen how Duale’s aspirations will break the the dynamic clan politics and alignments in the three counties and beyond.

Mohamed Warsama is a veteran Kenyan journalist and a media analyst. He’s also ex-BBC Monitoring Services and Nation Group as well as former publisher Express political monthly.


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