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MARSABIT POLITICS | Turbi and Dukana Debate: Why it is neither here nor there

By Halkano Galma

In a county that is severely  bedevilled by deaths and hatred for the last 30 years, the acutely animated debate on social media and some off-line comments related to the two new sub-counties  is not surprising or unexpected anymore.

For lack of space the historical contexts of the last three decades and beyond would be reserved for another day but first thing first.

This is what Governor Mohamud Ali (aka Abshiro) said ( in a lack of reverence and respect)  to the deceased ‘s fundraiser for the late Dr. Suquunatu’s family.

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“Ukuurii daafanaa barii ittitolee” roughly meaning CS “Ukur is a coward who is favoured by circumstances.” In other words Governor is saying that he is being outshined by Ukur because the national government is in  support of Ukur.

We do not have precise evidence but there could be an  element of truth in his blunt allegation.

However the question is whether Abshiro’s lamentations on this and other issues tell the whole story. The answer is no.

Let us draw a simple analogy that is anecdotal in telling the similarity and difference between the two.

Treasury CS Ukur Yattani (in the centre) and-Marsabit Governor Mohamud Ali (on the left) flanked by CS Interior Fred Matiang’i during thanksgiving luncheon in Nairobi. Photo| Courtesy

Both Abshiro and Ukur trace their ethnic extraction outside their current ethnic loyalty. Ukur’s origin was in Samburu. Abshiro’s was Oromo -Waloo.

Ukur is fervently Garaa. Abshiro is ferociously Dhaqaa.

Both were beneficiaries of the deadly plane crash that killed all Marsabit parliamentary representatives.  While Ukur immediately succeeded the popular Dr.Bonaya, Abshiro ousted transient brother of an equally popular Dr. Guracha.


Both served as assistant ministers and later became governors. Ukur as the first and Abshiro as the second.

While competition for the soul of Marsabit preceded them, Marsabit became a killing field after a fiercely contested 2013 and 2017 elections between the two.

During their rules and reign of powers Marsabit has degenerated into a conclave of corrosive conflicts and graveyard of innocent children.  The future of Marsabit is now hanging by a bare thread, before it would burst into yet another furnace of inferno.

May God forbid

They are both secretive and hide their true intent. They sometimes show a flash of cooperation and yet full of detestation for each other.

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They both have a loyal base premised on their respective clans. Garaa and Dhaqaa see themselves as royal gate-keepers. They both heavily invest on them by teeth and deed.

The Difference

Ukur is a well-oiled political operative with a high-prized networks of businesses and ethnic alliances. Some well connected Somali leaders propped and supported him since his days in Eastleigh and Ijara. Abshiro is a petty pocket-sized contrarian whose support is  based on sub-clan,  micromanaged rag -tag, tiff taff  kick sides.

Ukur like Bonaya before him nurtured a selected and deeply wealthy  individuals who have  perfected the art of political investment while Abshiro is temporal and disastrous use-and-dump mentality has left some of his business support dry and sour.

Ukur is a seasoned political tactician and a skilful schemer in the era of partisan party affiliation while Abshiro is a humpty-dumpty and clueless hit-and-run and  a spur of the moment oscillating between Uhuru-Ruto-Raila and handsomely pay ransom to preserve himself from eye-popping anti-corruption sleuths.

Ukur is fairly  loyal to his adopted and highly organised  Gabra nation. Abshiro is a deceptive and self-seeking survivor who is intensively disloyal to his adopted and severely disunited, disjointed and disorganised Borana nation.

Halkano Galma is the Deputy Party Leader, Civic Renewal Party (CRP) whose Party Leader is the current Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa iria.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Editor welcomes topical issues which might be edited . The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Whispers from the North editorial policy. You may get in touch with us via:

About Whispers from the North

Whispers from the North is an online platform that appreciates the ecological, cultural and socio-economic diversities of Northern Kenya. We also acknowledge that the lives of the communities of northern Kenya has been shaped by a number of intrinsic and extrinsic factors which have led to complex challenge that calls for a multifaceted approach.

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