Clerics play pivotal role in Wajir governor contest
Muslim clerics and scholars are emerging as influential players in the Wajir governor race, which is crowded with Azimio-One Kenya candidates.
The county has a population of 781,263 as per the 2019 Kenya Peoples and Housing Census.
Islam is the dominant religious group in Wajir, rendering clerics significant players in the August 9 election with 207,758 voters up for grabs across its six constituencies. Leading gubernatorial candidates have in the recent past been meeting religious scholars, ‘Ulamaas’ and clerics wooing them to back their respective bids.
In Islam, scholars, commonly referred to as Ulamaas, are considered heirs of the prophets.
ODM governor aspirant Ahmed Abdullahi Jiir (pictured), his running mate Mohamed Muhumed and Senate aspirant Abdirahman Mohamed last week met over 400 scholars from six sub-counties, who endorsed their bid.
Abdullahi, the former governor, said the meeting was focused on strengthening and empowering Ulamaas. In 2013, he built over 50 communal latrines in Madrasas and Islamic centres to improve hygiene.
Jubilee party candidate Dr Hassan Mohamed and his running mate Abdi Mohamed Salel have also been holding a series of meetings with Sheikhs and scholars, who have endorsed their quest. They pledged to form an all-inclusive government.
In his recent meeting with Fai religious scholars, Fuje termed Ulamaas as guardians and the backbone of any society. “They are the teachers of our communities. My leadership will empower Ulamaas to fortify their role in our society,” he said.
Similar meetings have also been held by Amani National Congress candidate Ugas Mohamed Sheikh, and his running mate Abdirashid Yusuf Abdinoor who have promised to prioritise the growth of religious institutions such as Mosques and Madrasas.
Mohamed Ibrahim Elmi, an Independent and his running mate Hussein Wardere have also met clerics and scholars. Elmi vowed to improve access to government services.