Tuesday, July 01, 2008


The strong urge to serve made Mandera Central MP Abdikadir Hussein Mohammed take the difficult decision of ousting his friend, Mr Billow Kerrow.

"We are still friends ," says Abdikadir, who won the seat on Safina party ticket. "I often consult him on some issues for the benefit of the constituents." Many were surprised that a novice could oust Kerrow, a seasoned politician riding on the wave the popular ODM party. Mr. Kerrow was a staunch ODM pointman in NEP at that time
and is an accountant in Nairobi.

Surprisingly, Abdikadir’s party, Safina, is barely popular outside Kabete constituency in Central Province.

But in a constituency where clan unity is crucial in wrapping up the contest, Abdikadir was the only contestant from the Degodia clan while Kerrow’s Garre clan fronted three candidates. He beat Kerrow by about 3,000 votes. After the bruising battle Abdikadir ,who is the only lawyer from the area, has a huge task ahead.

For a community used to the traditional justice system, the MP may find the verdict harsh if he doesn’t deliver his promises. He says the political bug had been itchy for quite some time but it was irresistible some eight months in the lead up to polls. Elite from the constituency fished him from court corridors and asked him to contest for seat.

The lawyer says he has what it takes to ‘take Mandera Central to the next level’.

"The major impediment to development is clannism. It clouds people’s visions but I hope with the help of other leaders, we can address that," he says. "I will not mix politics with development. Constituents will have a free hand to determine their priority projects."

He says CDF money will be fairly distributed.

The greatest problem in the constituency is food insecurity.

"We are looking at ways of tapping water from River Daua for irrigation. About Sh100million will be required for this venture. We can’t sit beside the river and be fed on relief rations," he says.

He says cottage industries in Rhamu division, which produces mangoes and bananas, will be supported. "A lot of the fruits rot due to lack of markets. Middlemen take advantage of the farmers," he says.

Weather vagaries and diseases have affected livestock farming, the economic mainstay of the region. He blames lack of policy on livestock farming as a major hiccup.

"All North Eastern Province residents are lobbying for more support from the Government to our livestock farmers," he says.

Pastoralists were dealt a major blow when the European Union banned beef from Kenya although Middle East is another developing
lucrative market

The MP says he will lobby for farmers’ loans.

"We have institutions that offer loans that are Islamic compliant (interest free loans). I will be talking to such institutions," he says while reffering to the new
Islamic Banks developing in Kenya including Gulf African Bank opened just two months ago.

The MP says education is another area of concern. Besides running a law firm, he has also business interests in real estate.

Abdikadir was born in 1971 in Mandera District. He went to Rahmu Primary School between 1977 and 1983 and later joined Alliance High School from 1984 to 1987. He went for his A levels at Sheikh Ali High School in 1987 and later joined faculty of law at the University of Nairobi from 1990 to 1993. Two years later, he joined Kenya School of Law and was later admitted to the Bar. Together with the former Law Society of Kenya chairman Mr Abdullahi Ahmednassir they set up a law firm, Ahmednassir and Company, in 1996.

In 2001 he left for Harvard University for his masters degree. He returned in 2002 and continued practising law. He is the chairman of committee on Legal Affairs and Administration Justice in Parliament.

Abdikadir is also a member of the board of directors of First Community Bank.

He is married and has three children.