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What comes next after Janan’s surrender?

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By Siyad Abdigedi

The surrender of Abdirashid Janan to the Federal Government of Somalia ushered in a period of calm for the citizens of Gedo. Residents of Mandera and Beled Hawo towns, which are located on the border of Kenya and Somalia, respectively, feel a big weight lifted off their shoulders, they no longer have to worry about a potential conflict of armies, which has always been reported to result in civilian casualties.

Just a few months ago, an aggressive dawn assault by Janan’s men on the Somalia federal army in Beled Hawo resulted in the killing of an entire family of six, with only the mother surviving the attack. A number of Janan’s men were also captured.

Janan, a former Jubaland state government security minister, was detained in Mogadishu in August 2019 for suspected human rights violations but fled in January 2020 and had been on the run before his recent surrender.

The surrender was secretly orchestrated by Janan’s loyalists and Somali Chief spy Fahad Yassin. Janan was later fired from his position as a security minister by Jubaland’s leader, Ahmed Madobe, for surrendering to the federal government in Mogadishu. He was flown to Mogadishu and met with top security officials before handing over his militia and weapons days later as talks between him and the federal government continued.

The Federal Government of Somalia and the administration of Jubbaland have been at odds. The Farmajo administration had previously rejected Madobe’s re-election but later accepted its legitimacy to serve as a transitional government for two years.

Possible results of Janan-Mogadishu negotiations

Rub my back, I rub yours, will most definitely be the compromise between the two parties. In return for cutting ties with Madobe’s camp, Mogadishu can grant him amnesty from his case.

The surrender of Janan to Mogadishu represents a significant political breakthrough for Farmajo because it ensures the stability of the Gedo region. Janan was a crucial figure in Jubbaland administration, and his surrender, along with his forces, weakens Madobe’s camp morale. He not only defected with troops and arms, but also with secrets, which is a critical asset in countering Ahmed Madobe.

Farmajos’ administration could also be planning to advance troops in the near future in order to capture Buale town with the help of Janan and his men and make it Jubbaland’s capital city. Middle Jubba is made up of four districts: Buaale, Sakow, Salagle, and Jilib, all of which are now under the rule of Al Shabaab. Planting an alternate regional government here would undermine the Madobe administration, which is headquartered in the port of Kismayu.

The talks between the two could follow a separate path, yielding a myriad of other possible outcomes that would undoubtedly have a significant effect on Jubbaland politics in the coming months.

Siyad is a security analyst with an emphasis on the Horn of Africa.

 

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Politics

Why Nairobi MCA are yet to be sworn-in

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Nairobi MCAs are divided over the unexpected delay to swear them in more than one month since they were elected. They claim Governor Johnson Sakaja’s silence on the matter is worrying yet elected members in other counties have been sworn in.

The leaders claim the delay is linked to intense lobbying by top leaders of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) and Azimio coalition to marshal numbers to get the speaker slot once the House is convened.
Korogocho MCA Absalom Odhiambo said the swearing-in should not be delayed any longer since there is need to embark on serving the electorates.

“The voters don’t want to know whether we have been sworn in or not. All they want is to be served and promises we made during campaigns be fulfilled,” Odhiambo said yesterday. Odhiambo challenged Governor Sakaja to convene the first sitting by Thursday as it had been speculated.

His Gatina Ward counterpart Kennedy Swaka said some members were now operating from the streets and cyber cafes since they had not been sworn in.

“It’s shameful that other county assemblies have kicked off business yet here in Nairobi, we are being told to loiter in streets because the governor is trying to buy time,” Sakwa said.

However, Peter Imwatok, the outgoing Minority Whip argues that the MCA’s have no mandate to pressure Governor Sakaja before the constitutional timelines lapse.

Nomination list

Imwatok, who is serving his third time as Makongeni ward member, says the Constitution stipulates that the members must be sworn in before 30 days after the gazettement of nominated members.

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Politics

Having too many Twitter followers could slow down your US visa application

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Having a legion of followers on social media could slow down the processing of your  US visa application, Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Amb Macharia Kamau warned MPs.

Kamau told MPs that due to the American legislation, individuals who are politically active are always on the government’s radar.

“Once you become a Member of Parliament and your Twitter handle has got one million followers, that is enough to trigger the fact that you are now a politically exposed personality. This will result in your Visa [application] being referred to Washington and once it goes into reference, it joins a long queue…sometimes it can take up to three or four months,” Macharia said during the induction of Members of Parliament (MPs) at Nairobi’s Safari Park hotel.

At the same time, the PS said that some Western nations were using the visa issue to safeguard their national interests.

“If they don’t like a certain MP when they come for visa application, they will  give all sorts of excuses such us; your visa has been referred, there is a backlog, etc. And before you know it, you have given up. Your intended reason for travel is crashed,” he said.

The Principal Secretary said the vigorous process is a result of  American foreign policy shift that began during President Barack Obama’s reign and identifies people who are politically active.

 

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Politics

Raila-backed candidate wins Kisumu Speaker race

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Mr Elisha Oraro who was being backed by the ODM leader Raila Odinga in the race for speaker of the Kisumu County Assembly narrowly carried the day after a spirited fight by his opponent Samuel Ong’ow.

He garnered 25 votes against Mr Ong’ow’s 22 in a duel decided in a second round of voting. The first round saw Mr Oraro get 24 votes against 23 votes cast for his opponent. The other contestants attracted no votes.

Mr Oraro was the speaker of the last assembly, a house that impeached his two predecessors. When nominations closed at noon on September 19, seven people had submitted their papers for the Speaker race.

They included Mr Oraro, Mr Ong’ow who is also a former majority in the same House, lawyer Kenneth Oduor Amondi, James Kounah Ochieng, Victor Otieno Odongo, Linda Ogweno Atieno and Nelson Lennoa Jalango Adul.

Of these, only four met the threshold required for the position. They were Mr Oraro, Mr Ong’ow, Mr Amondi and Mr Kounah. The other three were not proposed and seconded by any of the elected MCAs.

On Monday, almost half of the elected MCAs boycotted a meeting attended by Mr Odinga, a gathering whose agenda was to rally the lawmakers into voting for Mr Oraro.

It was the highest level of defiance so far to the opposition leader that has annoyed the rank and file of the ODM party.

For the position of deputy Speaker, only two candidates – Vincent Odhiambo Obuya and Nereah Akoth Okombo – had been cleared, leaving out Joachim Oketch, who held the seat when the last assembly dissolved.

More than a week ago, Mr Oraro got a major boost when ODM nominated him as its candidate for the seat for a second time.

Mr Oraro had a foot in as he sought to keep the seat he inherited after the previous assembly impeached Onyango Oloo over corruption claims.

In a September 8 letter, ODM secretary-general Edwin Sifuna notified assembly Clerk Owen Ojuok of the party’s notice about picking Mr Oraro as its preferred candidate.

Before the vote was cast, the Nation had it on good authority that the number of MCAs supporting Mr Oraro and Mr Ong’ow, the two main contenders, was a tight 23-24, and that the race could go either way. In the end, Mr Oraro carried the day.

Only 24 elected MCAs attended a dinner meeting held at the Grand Royal Swiss Hotel, as the others allied to Mr Ong’ow skipped it, the result of serious lobbying that could embarrass Mr Odinga if MCAs from his Kisumu backyard reject his candidate and elect someone else.

The Kisumu assembly has 47 MCAs – 35 elected and 12 nominated.

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