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Putting aside the current education crisis facing his county of mandera,  Governor Ali Roba led high delegates of  county officials to far end of  Banisa sub-county. As he brave the rough terrain of the vast county, its evident that  Governor Roba  is a man on a mission;  to enhance  Cohesion and Intergration in what was once a fragile co-existence between  the warring clans.

The youthful Governor had difficulties in his formative years in office over insecurity. Clan clashes and spate of  terror attacks had  turned promising county into an epicenter of violence.  The memory of these ugly  incidences seems to be behind the Governor for now, as the County now enjoys relative peace that once eluded it.

However Governor Roba  did not sat back and watch it. He took personal initiave to strengthen  unity, which  he says  is a cornerstone for development. For a man whom  friends and foes describe him as over ambitious with burning desire to lead, he seems to be in a  hurry to save his people who wallows in miasma of economic sufferings.

Upon landing in Banisa town,  that doubles up as sub-county and constituency headquarter, Governor Roba presided over  football match, dubbed  ‘Football For Peace’.  It was the first ever match organized by the county government, in collaboration with The National Drought Management Authority(NDMA).  The gesture by Roba administration seems to give peace and unity a different dimension. Initially on matters of peace only elderly male were involved, a sort of somali culture where old men were trusted with lobbying of peace deal. The fact youths  were involved speaks volume on governors strategy to cement the current stride achieved in peace front. Even though  he was part of consultations  and negotiations lobbied severally, it was his first time to be engaged  in peace talk in banisa sub-county. Senior official at the govenors’  office intimated that, the Govenor entirely left security matters to the national goverment and clan elders, lest he will be accused of biasness by one side or another.

The widely applaud football match that pit the two teams,  Mandera North and Banisa was organized by the County Government. The most intriguing part of it was, the teams comprises of young and talented boys from the two warring clans some who lost their parents and relatives  in the previous deadly inter-clan clashes.  The event of the past clashes are behind them  now and they are enjoying peace and tranquility in Mandera.  This was  evident from happiness on their  faces. Anyone will dispute that, these youngsters hail from the warirng  clans that butchered each other and  treated kenyans to  antithetical and bizarre killings, depicting political waywardness or insensibility. The mood at the Banisa primary playground was electrifying,  and  the images of burning houses and families mourning the loss of  their loved one’s that flashes across kenyan televisions  seems  distant reality, in its place was warm, love and brotherhood. Governor was in the friendly crowd  enjoying the developments. Perhaps he was telling himself, this is a new year, new page, I must deliver, won’t let these trusting souls  down!. Indeed it is difficult to convey in print media the altmosphere at Banisa town.

It was these developments that laid ground for largely successfull stakeholders meetings held at Banisa community social hall. Coincidentally the hall was officially opened by his excellency Governor Roba. It became perfect ground for engagements. Highly respected  elders from  the two clans were in atttendance.  How to sustain and solidify the current gains in peace was disccused at length.Both side gave best opinions on the way forward . A common ground was established.

Among the issues raised are opening up roads in formerly volatile areas, waterpoints  to be shared and returning of IDPS to their homes.  However the Governor emphasized that ,areas where there are suspicions, to be put on  hold on for now. He also ordered the County ward administrators and other county employees in the affected areas  to report to their duty stations to enhance service delivery. Establishments of police or administration police post at volatile areas that borders Ethiopia, though its the mandate of the National goverment.

 Governor Roba  confirmed of his willingness to provide enough facilitation. The Governor also indicated that the matter of border is an issue of the National Government and expressed confident that it wll be resolved by  the National government amicably. In unison both clans agreed  new settlements  by both clan was a receipt for clashes and suscipions, as it had political implications. Governor categorically stated that new settlement should be stopped. He was of views that , it is not only bases for suspicions and future  clashes but  stretch manpower and government resources. He added that , public should not interprate his sentiment as an opposition to new settlements  and developments. Restrictions are only for volatile areas.  The area member  of parliament Hon. Mohamed Abdow  supported governor’s line  of thinking.

The most significant strides was the presence of elders from bordering areas of Ethiopia. Elders that represent both the  Garreh and degodia  clan were present , giving more weight to the mission.   Formation of a joint peace committee to sensitize communities on  issues of  cohesion, integration, tolerance and peaceful co-existence among the clans was fronted by the Governor. He assured  the residents that he takes initiaves on the same and the joint committee will soon be in place. Roba who was in jovial mood while adressing crowd promised the public that he will build county of self reliance, development and communal responsibilities that propell mandera forward. ’’ Your role is to help me achieve this, by maintaining peace and unity we have for nearly five months now’’. Governor asked the locals to appreciate the gains Mandera had made in two years he was in office and continue with peaceful co-existence. ’’Let us not marginalize ourselves, we were marginalized enough by the successive Government. Marginalization was a major blow to us. Even if we  take marathon style in developments, the gap is still wide. Unity, peace and patience willl help us close it’’.

On resource sharing , Governor Roba  said his county is all inclusive and urged all clans to benefit adding that its their rights. He jokingly told the gathering that elections is far and that their political decisions is their right but they should engage the Government of the day for developments only.

’When time comes, you give your votes to whom you want, whatever happen then is God will and plan. Its time we work’. Said the smiling Governor.

Social commentators argued that, the decision by the Governor to cement peace and unity even when normalcy has returned,  point to the fact that the Governor is well prepared to deal with  resources based tensions especially during drought situation. ‘‘ We want to avoid clashes incase drought bites and resource become scarce’’. Said Mohamed Adan,  County Chief officer for Public service, Conflict management,  Cohesion and Integration.

Considering the location of peace dialogue, Banisa sub-county, the argument was right and well thought. Banisa sub county is mainly for pastoralists as compared to Mandera north that is largely suitable for farming.

Governor Roba informed members that, since this was his first time in peace dialogue, he expect and hope that his presence will create trust, confidence,  induce co-operation and produce positive attitude that creates better atmosphere for peaceful settlements and durable peace is achieved.

He urged them not to let him down. Whether his wishes will be realized and the peace dialogue will solidify the gains made so far, is something remain to be seen.


Disability is not inability, its doing things differently. This was evident  when  Ismail Ibrahim, a fourth year student at Wayam High School in Banisa came forward to receive the wheelchair, a gift from Mandera Governor Ali Roba. Ismail like any others member  of differently able faced societal barriers, stigmatization, labelling and stereotyping in a society where disability is considered a curse and a bad omen.

For  a young teenager who  had been grappling with these  difficulties, shaking hands and receiving gift from most powerful man in the County was the most moral boosting event in his life. Ensnared and enchanted Ismail was quick to point out that  he has no words to explain his feelings at that moment.

 ‘’When Madam Johora came to our school  late last year and told me that I will receive a wheelchair as a gift from Mandera Governor, I thought  she was joking’’. Said the jovial  Ismail while shaking the hands of this writer.

 Even though he was grateful to Governor Roba’s administration for recognition, he said the kenyan constitution has played a major role in their well-being.

‘’You see, if I will be through with my studies, I will not have to worry about getting a job. God willingly mine  will be obvious. I know you tarmacked a lot and you are doing a hard job’’. Said outspoken Ismail while teasing our photojournalist.

If the sentiment of Ismail is anything to go by, of which it seems the case, people living with disability in Mandera County  have all reasons to smile. In the Somali community  they were left unskilled and uneducated. Nearly hundred  percent of them reside in the valley of poverty.

The County Government donated seven wheelchairs, five to Banissa ward and the rest to Malka Mari ward. More efforts are underway to identify and help the disabled persons in the County.

The Governor Roba Led administrations  has significantly owned and intergrated people living with disabilities.  This was evident as members of differently able individuals are in senior positions in Governor Roba’s Administration.  Madam  Johora , the County Executive Committee for education and Social Services  for Education, confirmed  that  various  developmental issues  are in store for people living with disability. She said capacity building trainings will soon be done.  Trainings mainly focus on their rights as per the constitution and forming of committee to advocate for their affairs. In trays,  the CEC said a race for people living with disabilities wiil to be organized in may this year. This will be  preliminary race for annual Grand race organized by Northen Nomadic Disabled Person Organization ( NONDO).

As a county with unlimited opportunities and endless possibilities, surely this will create the missing opportunities  and possibilities in the world of people living with disabilities.


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