When Mr Abdullahi Yunis Guliye announced that he would contest for Morothile Ward seat in Mandera County, many called him a failure who lacked a vision in his life.
On August 10, he was declared the winner on Jubilee Party ticket in a contest that pitted him against the influence of elders in Mandera.
A soft-spoken Guliye, told Nation in an exclusive interview that his win was a surprise to his opponent who had been endorsed by the elders.
A certified Public Accountant and a graduate from the Kenya Methodist University, Mr Guliye said his childhood dream has always been to be a politician.
In the August 8 elections, he won with 1,153 votes against the second contestant who garnered 1,003 votes.
“I contested in 2013 elections but lost due to council of elders’ endorsement but this time round locals have come of age and understand that elders have no political role,” he said.
In 2013, Mr Guliye finished second, losing to the winner by only of 17 votes.
He says that he is interested in the minority leader’s seat in the Mandera County Assembly as he seeks to grow his political career.
“I got into politics because it is the only avenue I can help many people by presenting their needs to the government and getting the rightful share of the national cake,” he said.
To defeat the elders’ influence in an area where they (elders) call the shots in almost everything, Mr Guliye says he relied on the youth and women to gain mileage.
“Whenever elders are doing what they are doing, they forget about the youth and the women in society and this was a vacuum I exploited to end up in the assembly,” said Mr Guliye vehemently denying that he is a “computer-generated” leader.
“Youth and women don’t benefit from these political decisions of the elders but people have spoken and this ends the elders’ era,” he said.
In 2013, the council of elders in Mandera endorsed a line-up that saw Governor Ali Roba elected but their similar attempt for the 2017 elections received a lot of resistance.
Mr Roba led in defying the elders’ agenda when they decreed that he vacates office for Mr Hassan Noor Hassan in the spirits of negotiated democracy.
Mr Guliye says his first priority as the Morothile MCA is to solve the water shortage crisis and poor medical services in the area.
“Morothile is just a ward by name but has nothing to make people feel the government’s presence despite having devolution in past five years,” he said.
He cites poor infrastructure, lack of medical facilities and water sources for human and livestock as major economic setbacks in Morothile.
While in the assembly, Mr Guliye says he will support any motion seeking to improve education standards in Mandera County which has always lagged behind academically.
He believes the sharp political divide between Jubilee and the Economic Freedom Party will dissipate with time and that MCAs will concentrate on issues affecting Mandera and not political parties.
“Being a leader is about service delivery to the people and and this way I am optimistic that we will get moving in the near future,” he said.
He calls on the youth in Mandera to go out of their way and, in confines of law, follow their dreams and not let elders decide everything for them.