Somalia: Intrigues of three Kenyans in race for Jubaland president

Guleid Khalif, an expert of Jubaland politics wants the Kenyan government to ask the candidates to pull out.

The bid by three Kenyans in Jubaland presidential elections has elicited debate on how regional forces are angling for a stake in the August 24 vote.

The battle is shaping as that of interests by Somalia, Jubaland, Qatar, Ethiopia, and Kenya to make inroads in the territory.

Holders of Kenyan passports Mohammed Shakul, Mohammed  Marsheye, and Abdi Raghe are among those battling for the top seat.

The trio, observers argue, has been fronted to cut down incumbent and frontrunner Ahmed Madobe’s clout in the race.

But their candidatures have not been without opposition.

Guleid Khalif, an expert of Jubaland politics wants the Kenyan government to intervene and have the candidates withdraw from the race.

“We want the government to investigate the three contestants because they are being used to work against Kenya’s interest in Jubaland,” Guleid said.

Kenya is said to be standing by Madobe, owing to his contribution – having abandoned the Islamic Courts Union – in the fight to capture Kismayu from al Shabaab.

Raghe is reportedly a close friend of former warlord Barre Hiraale and Abdinasir Seraar, and is said to be working with Mogadishu to subvert Kenya’s interests.

Jubaland remains a strategic partner in Kenya’s efforts to stop the terrorist group from carrying out attacks in the region.

Those privy to the development say the Somali government led by Mohamed Abdullahi, popularly known as Farmajo, is behind the candidature of the three Kenyans.

Khalif told journalists on Sunday that the three Kenyans are from Garissa county from where they run businesses.

He said the al Shabaab factor is the reason behind the strategic efforts to unseat Madobe who has served since 2013.

Kenya is rooting for a regional government while Somalia and its allies prefer a centralised system of governance.

Somalia’s position has reportedly created animosity between Mogadishu and Nairobi.

“The Somalia Federal Government is creating clan divisions with their hardline stance while using dirty tactics to oust Madobe. They will fail flatly,” Abdu Shakur Ahmed, an elder from Buuale said of Farmajo.

The Jubaland Independent Boundaries and Electoral Commission has assured the electorate that the vote will be free and fair.

The commission, in a letter to Jim Swan – special representative of the UN Secretary-General, said it has taken steps to build confidence in the electoral process.

“We believe all the constitutional and legal requirements were fulfilled in the conduct of the process in line with the Constitution and the electoral laws in Jubaland,” JIBEC chairman Hamza Bare said in the yesterday’s letter.

This followed concerns by the UN after an attack in the country on July 12 left several dead and dozens injured.

Senior representatives from the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad), and the UN want the parties to work with an agreed electoral process that is within the laws of the land.

During a recent meeting in Nairobi, Peter Kagwanja observed that the election is not about who rules Jubaland but the region’s stability.

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