Isiolo Governor Godana Doyo. (Photo: Mose Sammy/Standard)
The Isiolo gubernatorial contest will be one of the most hotly contested seats in the country in the August 8 polls.
Governor Godana Doyo will once more face his 2013 closest challenger, former Tana and Athi Rivers Development Authority (Tarda) chairman Abdul Bahari and his former allies in last elections Senator Mohammed Kuti and his deputy Mohammed Guleid.
Mr Doyo, Dr Kuti and Mr Guleid were in URP where Bahari, a two-term MP for Isiolo South then vying on defunct TNA party, lost narrowly to newcomer Doyo.
This time round, the governor will face the senator and Bahari during Jubilee Party nominations while Guleid will run on Chama Cha Mashinani where he is the national chairman.
“The three are the major contenders for the seat and their rivalry is so intense. No one is ready to lose the election at the primaries and do not be surprised if the losers run as independents later,” said Mohammed Osman, a US-based PhD student in Economics who hails from the county.
Kanu flag bearer
Also in the race are Kanu flag bearer Hussein Golicha, who is a businessman based in Nairobi, and former NGO official Adan Kabelo of ODM.
The seventh aspirant is Kenyan-Indian Anwar Ahmed who will vie as an independent.
However, all those eyeing the seat will heavily rely on non-Borana votes.
The county, which had by February registered 74,485 voters, up from 54,000 in 2013, is also home to Turkana, Meru, various Somali clans and Samburu.
Bahari has picked businessman Domiciano Mainge as his running mate. Mr Mainge, who emerged third after polling nearly 12,000 votes in the 2013 gubernatorial seat, hails from the Meru’s Tigania community.
Doyo has picked his chief officer Barnabas Esunyen from the Turkana community as his running mate while Kuti, a former two-term Isiolo North MP and Cabinet minister during the administration of former President Mwai Kibaki, has picked London-based surgeon Abdi Ibrahim Issa from Somali clan of Dulbaante.
Mr Golicha has chosen petroleum dealer Andrew Mola from Turkana while Kabelo settled on development consultant Paul Ekuam, also from the Turkana, as running mates.
Doyo says the shift in alliances will not affect him, claiming he still has the necessary numbers to clinch the seat, pointing to his development record.
Mainge said his alliance with Bahari is formidable, adding it “represents the face of Isiolo” and would send Doyo packing during the JP nomination.
Guleid, a Somali, accuses his boss of relegating his (Guleid) role to that of a junior officer and locking him out of all activities in the administration from 2014.
Both Golicha and Kabelo said it was time Isiolo residents voted out all those who had occupied elective positions, claiming the county requires new faces.