Mandera Governor Ali Roba has said the newly launched Economic Freedom Party (EFP) is not a threat to his political ambitions.
Mr Roba spoke just a day after entry of the little known EFP which elders from northern Kenya and their political nominees said they will use to champion for the interests of their community in government.
The governor welcomed the unveiling of EFP saying every individual has a right to associate with or join any political party in the country.
“I have nothing negative or positive to say about EFP except that it was so ridiculous for Senator Billow Kerrow to say that Mandera will not support President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy in the August elections,” he said.
He added, “EFP is not a threat to me since it is up to the public to decide whom they will elect.”
He wondered why the opposing team bringing together the council of elders, Senator Kerrow, MPs Mohamed Huka (Mandera South) and Hassan Osman (nominated) and Woman Rep Fathia Mahbub bolted out of Jubilee while claiming they have support of residents on the ground.
“Our opponents claim they have a greater population on their side yet they feared to go for Jubilee Party nominations. They could have stayed [so that] we square it out at the nominations if they are popular like they claim,” said Mr Roba.
The Mandera governor denied allegations that he colluded with Deputy President William Ruto to kick his opponents out of Jubilee.
“Those are fabricated lies by Senator Kerrow [since] the President had assured all of us that we were welcome to Jubilee [to] go through the nomination process but they chickened out because they could not dare go for that process for lack of support back at home,” he said.
He said Senator Kerrow and elders attempted to arm-twist the Jubilee leadership but failed.
“We have left Jubilee to President Uhuru Kenyatta, his Deputy William Ruto, Governor Ali Roba and other conmen in there and found our own party where we are safer,” said Senator Kerrow on Sunday.
The governor rubbished EFP saying it has nothing to deliver to Mandera or to any coalition.
“The new party will deliver nothing to any presidential candidate but my team shall deliver 90 per cent of votes to Jubilee in August,” he said while wishing the new party the best of luck.
The governor said jumping ship by his opponents was an indication that the team is not sure of its support on the ground.
Mr Roba blamed the negotiated democracy process for the rising political tensions in Mandera, likening it to dishing out food.
“Mandera needs steady leadership [instead of] one being asked to leave office [regardless of] whether you performed or not because since independence, it is now [that] we are receiving tangible resources that need good leadership without rotating (leaders) every five years,” he said.
He reiterated that the negotiated democracy, which he said has failed elsewhere in the world, cannot work in Mandera.
“The decision to elect leaders is squarely with the people and there is nothing like negotiated democracy that has been applied anywhere in the world that has worked,” he said.
He said his fate is with both God and the electorate that he has well represented the best for four years of devolution.
“I will be very contended to be voted out by the public that I have represented on the basis that I have performed or not and this will be the trend going forward,” he said.
“This hype of negotiated democracy is not tenable anywhere in the civilized world today,” he added.
He described the council of elders as an amorphous entity that is claiming to control the voting pattern of the county which he said is absolutely untrue, further stating their idea is misplaced.
MONEY SPENT WELL
The county boss lashed out at Senator Kerrow for claiming that Sh34 billion given to Mandera in the past four years has been mismanaged.
“It is obvious that such statements will rule the air as we get close to elections but I welcome the senator and any other interested party to come and see how Mandera has transformed,” he said.
While addressing EFP supporters on Sunday, Mr Kerrow said the county executive had nothing to show for the Sh34 billion allocated to Mandera since the inception of devolution.
“We have built 1,100 kilometres of roads, increased water supply in the county, build ECDE classes, constructed over seventy health facilities, constructed county offices at sub-county levels, improved agriculture, mitigated drought to increase livestock production, improved education and many other developments all over the county that you can easily see,” Governor Roba said.
He challenged Senator Kerrow to make public his performance record of representing the county as its senator.
“We know he has nothing to show for it,” said Mr Roba.
The governor said many challenges posed by insecurity have slowed down the development agenda of Mandera.