Kenya: How Somali man clinched seat in Nyanza Province
Suna MP Mohammed Junet and his wife, Deka Jamaa, at their home. [Photo: Nick Oluoch/Standard]
By Nick Oluoch
Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Migori, Kenya: Mohamed Junet became the first Kenyan Somali to be elected Member of the National Assembly in Nyanza Province.
Although he is a former Migori town Mayor, having been nominated as a councillor in 2003, Mr Junet’s rise to become the first MP of the new Suna East constituency, attests to how far politics has evolved in Nyanza.
In the nominations, the MP beat strong candidates who included former area MPs John Pesa and Owino Likowa, to win the Orange Democratic Movement party ticket.
And in the General Election, the 35-year-old beat a host of candidates, to capture the seat, hived off from the former Migori constituency.
Speaking soon after he was declared the winner, Junet said unlike most parliamentary candidates who won on the basis of their clans, he had an all-inclusive campaign team.
“I could not simply come and try to make my campaign based on members of the Somali community,” he said.
He said his leadership would be all-inclusive and acceptable by all constituents to move ahead together.
Coming from a ‘minority’ community and vying against an incumbent, Junet was aware he needed to stage an effective campaign to attract many people.
The MP ensured his campaign was coordinated by people from all parts of the constituency to make them own the process.