Abdulkadir Mohamed Haji has been sworn in as the Senator for Garissa County.
Popularly known as Abdul, Haji took the oath to replace his late father Yusuf Haji.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati announced that there was “no contest” and declared Haji “duly elected as the Senator, Garissa County for a by-election that had been scheduled for May 18.
He was to contest for the senatorial seat on a Jubilee Party ticket but was the only candidate in the race.
Haji is a renowned businessman and featured among private arm holders who played a key role in the rescue mission during the Westgate Mall attack in 2013.
In his maiden speech, Haji thanked members for the support they gave his family after the death of his father.
Holding back tears, he said his family still gets messages from his father’s friends telling them what his father meant to them.
“I realized this morning that we are beginning the holy month of Ramadhan. It will be the first holy month in my life without my father,” he said.
Senate Minority Leader James Orengo said he was humbled Haji’s family picked him to introduce their son to the House during his swearing-in.
“You are not just a senator for Garissa since you represent the entire country. You went beyond the call of duty to save lives during the Westgate attack. You defended all lives. The image of you reaching out to the young girl will remain in our memories forever,” he added.
Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr said Haji “joined the list of people who became senators by fate.”
“You have to fit in your father’s shoes. I was told the same when I became a senator after the death of my father,” he added.
Vihiga senator George Khaniri said going unopposed was a clear demonstration that the people of Garissa County had confidence in Haji.
“I came to Parliament under similar circumstances many years ago after losing my father who was the MP for Khamisi constituency. He died in the hands of your father who was then a Provincial Commissioner. He was with your father at a function when he collapsed and he rushed him to hospital in Kisumu,” Khaniri said.
The Vihiga senator added that the late Haji led campaigns to have him elected as MP for Khamisi.
“I have trust that he will fit in his father’s shoes,” Khaniri added.
Kiambu Senator and Majority Whip Kimani Wamatangi welcomed the new senator on behalf of the Jubilee party.
“Haji is young and energetic. You won the confidence of the people of Garissa and members of this House will support you,” he added.