Abdul Haji, the son to the late Yusuf Haji has been elected unopposed for the Garissa senate seat.
Powerful political figures and local elders, worked behind the scenes to ensure that Abdul succeeds his late father as the Garissa lawmaker.
According to Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) county returning officer Hussein Gure, no other candidate turned up to challenge Haji in the May 18 mini poll whose deadline for submission was on Tuesday evening.
The IEBC County official said they will have to notify the commission’s headquarters who will give guidance on the same.
“The deadline for presenting the nomination papers from candidates was on Tuesday. As it stands now, only Abdul Haji has presented his nomination papers under the Jubilee ticket. We have communicated the same to the Headquarters and waiting for them to give directions over the same,” said Gure.
However, the Frontier Post has established that several people had shown interest in the seat but were immediately prevailed upon by their respective clan elders to step down in honour of the late Haji.
In the Somali community, the council of elders play a pivotal role not only in dispute resolution amongst communities but are deeply involved in the elections in the region.
In the run-up to 2017 elections, politicians in Garissa intending to vie for several seats were asked to apply to the council of elders in an informal move that saw elders coming up with candidates who will face off their rivals from other clans.
Abduwak and Samawathal clan came together to share seats before formed the Tolomoge Alliance that saw them sweeping all the major seats under Jubilee ticket.
In the arrangement Ali Korane and Anab Gure from Abduwak will go gubernatorial and Women rep seat while Samawathal will front senate and Deputy Governor position.
After the death of Garissa Senator, Mohamed Yussuf Haji and subsequent selection of his Son Abdul clan elders were mobilised to endorse him in what leaders say was in respect of the late senator and long-time administrator who died on February 15.
Since Abdul’s endorsement, political leaders from different political and clan affiliations were involved to ensure there is no competitor in the senate by-election slated on May 18th.
While some political players met with individual candidates others were involved in convincing political parties that have initially fronted candidates to shelf their ambitions in favour of Haji.
Former Garissa Governor Nathif Jama and the incumbent Ali Korane have been with Abdul in what political pundits say is to appeal to his Samawathal backyard in the 2022 general election.
After he was handed over his nomination certificate on Monday, Abdul, who is remembered for his courage and acts of heroism during a terrorist attack at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, said he will work with all leaders for the betterment of the county.
“I’m overwhelmed by your support for coming out in larger numbers. I promise to never let you down and work towards transforming our county,” he told locals who gathered at the nomination venue.