Yattani Cabinet nomination tests Ruto’s grip in Marsabit

Sunday January 21 2018

Former Marsabit Governor Ukur Yattani. Leaders from Marsabit have opposed his nomination of to the Cabinet. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Deputy President William Ruto’s hold onto the Northern counties of Marsabit and Isiolo is at stake as most of his trusted lieutenants for the last one decade threaten to severe relationship with the ruling Jubilee Party over Cabinet appointments.

The leaders who rarely go public with the criticism of the country leadership and prefer to lobby silently, went public this week voicing their opposition to nomination of former Marsabit Governor Ukur Yattani to the Cabinet.

When a section of Marsabit leaders released a statement on Thursday raising issues on Mr Yattani’s nomination to the Cabinet, it was a culmination of disgruntlement by the leaders who felt their support for Jubilee was being taken for granted.


Led by Marsabit Governor Mohamud Ali, the politicians released a hard-hitting statement and vowed to block Mr Yattani’s appointment.

They are preparing a memorandum which they hope to present to the yet to be fully constituted committee to vet Cabinet nominees


The statement was signed by Mr Mohamud, Senator Godana Hargura, nominated senator Rev Canon Naomi Waqo, Woman Rep Safia Sheikh Adan, Saku MP Dido Rasso, and Laisamis Constituency MP Musa Arbele. Others are Moyale MP Qalicha Gufu and Marabit County Speaker Mathew Loltome and Majority lLader Halkano Konso.

Mr Hargura has emerged as the political kingpin in Rendile community while Mr Rasso, a retired military officer, holds mantle over Borana politics together with the Marsabit Governor.

Mr Ali is an ally of deputy president who has stuck with him over the years, and is credited with recruiting into the party other upcoming politicians to Mr Ruto’s wing when it was still TNA and URP.


Mr Ali served as assistant minister during grand coalition government and was axed by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga over his criticism and support for Mr Ruto at a time the duo fell out.

When he lost narrowly to Mr Yattani, who was then in ODM, the Marsabit governorship seat in 2013 he was appointed to lucrative post of NHIF board chairman.

But Mr Yattani’s nomination now threatens to scuttle this long standing relationship, with the entire leadership of Borana community holding that he was appointed to undermine Mr Ali by creating another centre of power.

“As things stand today, we the leaders feel that the nominating authority did not take our people’s interest into consideration,” said the leaders in their statement.