The battle for Mandera County Woman representative position is now a three-horse race.
Ms Amina Hassan Ahmed of Party for Development and Reforms, Economic Freedom Party’s Amina Gedow and Ms Ethila Mohamud Issack of Jubilee Party hope to win the voters’ hearts on August 8.
Narc Kenya’s Nasra Noor Mohamed was disqualified by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission during clearance after it emerged that she was not a registered voter.
Suez Nur Hassan of the Orange Democratic Movement silently left the stage despite being cleared.
Ms Zulekha Hulbale of Maendeleo Chap Chap is also said to have technically dropped out of the race but could not be reached on phone for comment.
Almost all the candidates reside outside Mandera.
“The battle is between three of us. I ask the council of elders to keep off women’s affairs,” Ms Ahmed, a teacher and peace ambassador, said.
She believes elders conspired to deny her victory in 2013 as she ran for the seat on an ODM ticket.
“I am sure of winning with a big margin this year,” she said.
As she advocates for elders keeping off women’s affairs, Ms Gedow took the opposite route
“The council of elders plays a key role in our society. Elders must be involved to ensure good leaders are picked to represent Mandera,” Ms Gedow, a beneficiary of what has come to be known as negotiated democracy, reasoned.
She was picked in August to replace Fathia Mahbub who has bowed to the elders’ wishes and declared her backing for Ms Gedow.
According to Ms Gedow, elders are a unifying factor.
“Choosing to go against the council of elders’ decision has consequences. One must tread carefully because their decision is always final and binding,” she said.
Ms Ahmed accuses elders of being mean and divisive.
“They are imposing leaders on residents and this is creating disunity,” she said.
The three agree that women need to be supported financially in order to improve their economic status.
“Mandera is prone to clashes and it is women who suffer the most. I will ensure women become a unifying factor,” Ms Ahmed said.
Ms Gedow said if elected, she would ensure the “little” money from the national government is distributed equally across the county.
Ms Issack, the immediate former county water executive, banks on her experience and interaction with residents for a “landslide” win in August.
“My two competitors are not known but my record as the county minister for roads and then water is a big advantage,” the Jubilee candidate boasted.
She said as an executive for four years, she had overseen the opening up of roads and drilling of boreholes.
“Our roads have been improved to all-weather standards,” she said.
Ms Issack and Ms Ahmed are in Governor Ali Roba’s Jubilee team that defied the elders decree barring office holders from seeking re-election.
“Politics is a personal decision and can never be decided by a handful of illiterate wazees (old people). They have no right to decide the destiny of a whole community,” Ms Issack said.