Garissa clan endorses first woman to vie for senator

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Rer Kassim, a sub-clan of the larger Abduwak clan in Garissa county, on Thursday made history by endorsing a woman to vie for senator.

They endorsed Khatra Iman, a nominated MCA, to run for the seat as the country gears up for next year’s general election.

In Northeastern, clans play an integral role in endorsing aspirants, who in most cases win.

Elder Diriye Bundid said they picked Khatra because of her experience in leadership as a nominated MCA.

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“Since she was nominated, Khatra has come out strongly to defend the rights of not only women to better the lives of Garissa residents,” Bundid said.

He said they (elders) will vigorously campaign for the nominated MCA to ensure that she captures the seat.

He said they are aware that competition, especially from her male counterparts, will be tough.

Speaking after the endorsement, Khatra welcomed the trust the elders had bestowed on her, saying the journey to clinch the seat ‘had just started’.

“I’m not taking the endorsement for granted. The fact that our respected elders picked me for the high seat shows that women have come of age and can face their male counterparts at the ballot,” she said.

“I want to urge Kenyans across the country to give women the chance to lead. I have been inspired by my sister and Ijara MP Sophia Abdi Noor who successfully vied for the seat.” 

Sophia made history when she became the first woman to be elected MP in Northern Kenya.

Khatra said historically women have been marginalised and their chance to vie and win elective seats lie with the passing of the BBI.

She urged residents to back the BBI, adding that the constitutional changes would benefit marginalised groups.

Khatra’s close supporters said the nominated MCA is relying on BBI validation by Kenyans in the referendum.

Among the recommendations contained in the BBI, women aspirants who garner the most votes on the ballot will be given first priority at the county assembly, the National Assembly and the Senate for nomination.

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