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Monday, December 6, 2021

Has Mohamed Abdi fought his last as Wajir Governor?

By The Frontier Post Reporter

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11-member Senate committee has recommended the removal of Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi Mohamud Abdi for violation of the constitution.

Senator Okon’go Omogeni-chaired committee found that the Wajir county boss was guilty of gross violation of the Constitution by flouting the County Government Act, Public Procurement Act and Asset Disposal Act and the Public Finance Management Act.

However, the committee absolved the governor from abuse of office and gross misconduct charges, saying the Members of County Assembly did not provide sufficient evidence.

His fate now lies with the Senate, which after receiving the committee report, will either vote to adopt or reject it

Always fighting for survival

The trial of Abdi, who was impeached on April 27, begun last week on Wednesday in the Senate.

Wajir MCAs presented their case through lawyer Ahmednassir Abdullahi while the defense team of the governor was led by Ndegwa Njiru.

However, it was not the first time the governor was fighting off attempts to remove him from office as efforts to oust him started soon after he was elected during the 2017 elections.

“Mwalimu”, as he was commonly known during campaigns received remarkable endorsements from leaders throughout the county’s six constituencies.

He promised an all-inclusive government, improved health facilities and water systems but these has come back to haunt him as he has been accused of gross misconduct, violation of the Constitution and abuse of office.

He was also accused of abusing his power by reshuffling the finance department chief officers six times within two years.

A total of 37 MCAs voted to impeach him while 10 members were against the motion. Two were absent.

The MCAs claimed the governor lacked accountability in the management of county resources by incurring unsustainable debts and other pending obligations to the tune of Sh2 billion.

Back in January 2018, High Court in Nairobi nullified the governor’s election, a decision which was endorsed by the Court of Appeal in April the same year.

However, in February 2019, Abdi retained his seat after a majority of Supreme Court judges ruled he was validly elected and had the required academic credentials to vie for the seat.

Then Chief Justice David Maraga and Judge Isaac Lenaola raised serious questions on Abdi’s credentials to vie for the seat, but a majority decision by four other judges saved him.

As this was happening, officers from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission raided his homes in Nairobi and Wajir in November 2018

The detectives also raided the home of the head of the Wajir county treasury in Lower Kabete estate within Nairobi and took away documents in a probe into suspected embezzlement of Sh350 million.

On May 1, EACC moved in to investigate corruption allegations in the county that led to Abdi’s impeachment.

EACC was said to be specifically interested in the multi-million procurement of infectious disease prevention commodities under tender number WCG/H/DT/002/2019-2020.

As EACC moved to investigate, a petition against the governor was filed at the Senate, seeking to find Abdi unfit to hold office.

The Devolution and Intergovernmental Relations Committee chaired by Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang received   a petition by Osman Idris Mohamed, a resident of Wajir who argued that: “Abdi should not be allowed to hold any public office.”

Abdi was born on July 1, 1955, in Wajir South constituency.

He went to Rhamu Primary School before joining Mandera Secondary School from 1981 to 1984 and then proceeded to Nakuru Medical Training Centre (1985-1988)

He was employed as a Clinical Officer by the Ministry of Health between 1988 to 1997.

Abdi has been a director at Abrar Medical Clinic and Young Muslim Association.

He served as Wajir East MP between 1997 and 2007.

Between 2003- 2007, Abdi was Cabinet minister for Regional Development in the administration of retired President Mwai Kibaki.

Abdi was appointed Kenya’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia by President Uhuru Kenyatta in August 2014.

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