- The region has in the past voted for Raila Odinga's nearly to the last man.
- This has always been in a bid to be part of the quest to change the status quo, but that has not been successfu
Since Independence, the Northern Kenya counties of Wajir, Garissa, and Mandera have been the bedrock of the opposition politics.
The region has in the past voted for Raila Odinga nearly to the last man.
This has always been in a bid to be part of the quest to change the status quo, but that has not been successful.
The region, however, was considered by the opposition big time in terms of sharing positions and privileges that came along with the minority side of the Parliament.
Many have earned nominations to coveted committee positions in the National Assembly and the Senate.
In the case of 2008, the region was considered for some cabinet slots in the formation of the Grand Coalition Government.
However, the post-state-sponsored misfortunes that have for years befallen the Somali community living in the counties of Wajir, Garissa, and Mandera remains not addressed.
Over the years, the region remained a pro-opposition.
This is not because they were satisfied with the small favors awarded to leaders from the region.
It is because they could not find an alternative, maybe a politician or a leader who understands and feels the pain of state-sponsored trauma.
This was until recently when the current President William Ruto took power.
The current president has been in the political trenches with top leaders from Northern Kenya.
Cabinet Secretary for Defence Aden Duale stood with him through thick and thin in his journey to the top.
Though Raila got 80 per cent of the votes in Northern Kenya in the last general election, Ruto has moved fast to try and galvanize his support.
On October 26, Northern Kenya leaders met with President William Ruto at State House, Nairobi.
The leaders were led by CS Duale.
Speaking during the event, Duale called for the Privatisation of the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) which now has a debt of Sh 600m.
He reiterated that if the parastatal is handed over to private investors just like others, it will be revamped and will have a direct impact on the people of Northern Kenya or those from ASAL areas.
Eldas MP Adan Keynan requested the extension of the national grid from Garissa to Wajir and Mandera Counties.
Drought, floods, insecurity, poverty, hunger, lack of water, poor access to education and healthcare services, and poor infrastructure are things that have become common within the region.
All these problems can be fixed if we get the political goodwill from the government of the day.
The time has come for the formulation of key policies like the veterinary policies that benefit the livestock sector which as we all know is the economic mainstay of our people.
There is also a need to ensure the availability of quality feeds and supplements, improved livestock breeds and breeding, improved animal health and adoption of improved livestock technologies.
Investing in water infrastructure for livestock and domestic usage is also key.
This is where the mega dams and small dams that the Kenya Kwanza administration promised to actualize come in.
The issue of Identity Cards and passports should not be forgotten. People from the region still face challenges when applying.
These are things we hope to see handled so that our residents can no longer feel like they are being treated like second-class citizens.
The question of youth is equally critical here as it is in all other parts of our country. Youths from ASAL areas just like those from other parts of the country are people on the move.
The government must help them access education as the surest bet to prepare them for the world.
I keenly listened to the President who said that his Government is committed to delivering on the promises it made to Kenyans including those from the region.
If Ruto will be able to deliver on the pleas touching on improving infrastructure, the privatisation of KMC and the National Grid, he would have helped the people of Northern Kenya big time.
This will most likely deal a blow to Raila as the President would have convinced the region why he is the best.
He has four (4) good years to proof that.
The move by leaders to meet the President is commendable. The interests of the people supersedes that of the party.
Leaders must remember that electorates will judge them not by the party that sponsored you in parliament but by the development projects they initiate for them.
Siyad Ismail Abdi is a Journalist who comments on North Eastern Kenya affairs.