By Salad Malicha
Hon. Abdul Bahari Ali rose from a humble background against natural adversity, odds and life uncertainties to become Human Resource Manager of a giant Multinational Company (Firestone East Africa- now rebranded Sameer Africa). He attended Garba tulla Boarding Primary School, Isiolo Boys Secondary School for ‘O’ level (form 4) certificate in 1982 and ‘A’ level (form 6) certificate at prestigious Kagumo High School in 1984. He was later admitted to the University of Nairobi and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and Public Administration (1989). To scale up his academic progression he joined Kenyatta University and attained Masters Degree in Public Policy & Administration (2010).
He was first employed as a Management trainee by Kenya Airways(KQ-The pride of Africa) in September, 1990, due to his indefatigable spirit he was promoted to various position such as Administrative Officer (April, 1992) and Industrial Relations Officer (September, 1992) within that shortest timeline. He later joined the then giant Firestone East Africa, now Sameer Africa as a Chief Industrial Relations Officer in September, 1993. Owing to his diligence and excellent Managerial prowess, he was promoted to the position of Manager Motor Transport in June 1995 and Manager Industrial Relations and Motor Transport in 1996, and finally due to his utmost zeal and enthusiasm he scaled up the rank and became Human Resource Manager that covers the four East Africa partner States-Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania. He injected a fresh novice paradigm shift on the ever evolving complex issues of Labour laws and Industrial Relations in line with the International Labour Organizations Laws. He enjoyed warm and cordial relations from both the employees and proprietor when he worked there and even after he left the Company. In his honour, the tyre brand name, Firestone was re-branded to YANA TYRES which is a Boran word meaning ‘Moving forward’, this was due to his astute dedication and innate passion for work.
Due to his passion to serve his community disparaged by poor leadership and lip-services offered by the then leadership in his community, he offered his candidature to be a Member of Parliament for Isiolo South Constituency in 2002. He snatched the coveted seat on a KANU ticket. He once again, clinched the seat on a KANU ticket in 2007 General Election and consequently appointed a Member of Pan-African Parliament (together with Hon. Gitobu Imanyara, Hon. Musa Sirma, Hon. Gideon Mungaro and Hon. Rachael Shebesh) based in Midrand, South Africa. At the Pan-African Parliament he was unanimously elected Chairman of Finance Committee, representing 54 Africa Member States.
Because he is a performer par-excellence, former Imenti Central Hon. Imanyara paid special tribute to him, ” The former Isiolo South MP is an excellent choice for the post because he is well respected both in the Kenya National Assembly and Pan-African Parliament due to his amicable mien and integrity, besides he does not have excess baggage and his name does not evoke tribal emotions and party affiliations”- Hon. Gitobu Imanyara, Imenti Central, MP’.”
Ever since he took over the leadership, Isiolo South development record was comparable to none in the region and for the last ten years the CDF projects has been ranked among the best well managed Fund, in fact second position for Eight consecutive years after Gatanga Constituency by both the National Constituency Development Board and National Tax Payers Association. He was committed to capitalize his skills on the issues of prudent financial management, social justice, peace building, conflict resolution, community cohesion, and disaster and risk management.
Hon Abdul Bahari Ali spoke 3104 times in Parliament (Source; National Assembly Hansard), whether on matters of National importance but mostly he dwells on issues affecting his constituency in particular and Upper Eastern in general. He has a passion to find solutions on matters affecting the less advantaged and those economically, socially, culturally and politically challenged in the Society.
He was christened; MFEREJI by his constituents because he ensured that all villages in his constituency have safe and clean piped water hence mollifying the burden of trekking for long distance in search of water by mothers and by extension donkeys are relieved off the said burden.
He had the zeal and enthusiasm to attend to all the plenary sessions and Committee activities (Budget Committee, Public Investment Committee and Local Authority Funds Account Committee which are classified as Watch dog Committee) as he juggles with the heavy responsibility of being Chairman Finance Committee of the Pan-African Parliament. Apart from tight Parliamentary schedule, Hon. Abdul Bahari Ali makes frequent Constituency visits to understand emergent and salient issues bedeviling his people from time to time.
He had an in- depth understanding of the issues affecting the society. He seeks truth in each and every area of Communities life, whether in search for peaceful co-existence among warring communities, capacity building, or relating to his fellow Parliamentarians, constituents and the general society.
Because of his positive disposition, his reflective ways and all of the characters traits that make him so special, Hon. Bahari is the man who can beat the tape to the very end. After the bungled elections of 2013 where he campaigned for only 22 days and lost narrowly against all odds, he was appointed Tana & Athi River Development Authority Boss by H.E Uhuru Kenyatta, C.G.H, the President of the Republic of Kenya. At TARDA, Hon. Bahari restructured and streamlined the management of the Authority for better productivity.
Ever since, he has been there for the people of Isiolo County on matters of development, human capital (Employment), in troubled times like tribal clashes, drought and famine, attending society social and economic events, Education empowerment and offering people -centered governance, servant leadership, and above all inspirational guidance to the people of Isiolo County.
Isiolo people have suffered under leadership of misery and ineptitude, we have gone through turbulent times owing to bad governance. The man currently at the helm of the top seat is a broken man presiding over a broken society.
HON. BAHARI WAS UNANIMOUSLY ENDORSED IN CLAN CONVENTION
Hon. Bahari hails from one of the largest clan in Isiolo County. The clan had a convention in Merti Sub-County on 18th-23rd December, 2015 to pick the best nominee for the coveted seat of Isiolo Governor in 2017 polls. Four contestants presented their names to the convention for consideration. The candidates were subjected to rigorous process of selection. In point, when a stalemate occurred, as it eventually did, after many long and protracted hours of submissions by the respective opposing camps, the host proposed a question to the Dayyu Bassu sitting in council that will decide the matter in a just and fair manner.
The supreme council (Jalaab), clearly fatigued by the long and winding negotiations, demurred to the proposal by acclamation, and the host immediately called for a division. Of the 155 supreme council (Jalaab), 119 cast their vote in favour of Hon. Bahari while the remaining 36 were shared among the other three candidates. A day earlier, 11 older members (licho dulati) of the conclave, constituted themselves into something akin to the UK’s House of Lords, or if you like, into our own Mutunga’s court. It transpired that ten members preferred a Hon. Bahari’s candidature with one dissent. This position of the DB House of Lords, in part influenced the decision to call for a division. The result of the division was not in dispute. Hon. Bahari won fair and square. The losing team had no option under the customary law but they had to accept the final results. They say you can’t have your cake and eat it too. They were bound by their own acceptance of the proposal floated by the host. Under the traditional law they are not allowed to turn around and try to wiggle out of a pact they were party to in endorsing just because things didn’t go their way.
This matter was closed as settled and no appeal can reopen it whatsoever. The law as they say is an ass.
COALITION BUILDING WITH OTHER COMMUNITIES IN ISIOLO COUNTY
Isiolo is a cosmopolitan County with various shades of communities co-exist together symbiotically since time immemorial. The idea of making some communities “enemies” can’t and won’t sell because it is contrary to the provisions that establish National Cohesion and Integration act. The current Isiolo regime and their apparatchik’s are hell-bent on using negative ethnicity to divide the exploited to perpetuate them to power. After Hon. Bahari was endorsed by his clan, he extended his wings and tentacles to reach out to other communities in Isiolo. The best campaign lobby in the political history of Isiolo dubbed; FOB (Friends of Bahari) was hatched.
FOB is not just a name, an object or a group of people in a box limited by structures, FOB is a movement! FOB is me and you overflowing with ideas…connecting, building and inspiring change in Isiolo County!
FOB consist of a group of young and respectable personalities with the same goals and the same struggles, the same dynamic problems, trying to find solutions to problems bedeviling the people of Isiolo County through regime change via ballot come 2017.
It is public domain that the incumbent Governor made the defence of land from external appropriation, the central plank of his 2013 campaign platform. Only him as the alleged custodian of the “True Isiolo leather map” can be held to account on that score. There is no way he can try to offload such a weighty burden on the shoulders of a private citizen asserting his constitutional right to seek elective office.Just before, during, and after last election, the current ruling classes in Isiolo County deliberately provoke negative ethnic feelings and even organise and sponsor mayhem against other groups to propel themselves to elective positions. And since it is the ideas of the ruling classes that dominate society, the oppressed embrace the ideology of negative ethnicity that embodies hatred, jealous and discrimination against themselves. The unresolved issues of land and land resources, class inequality and other forms of historical injustices, have always been used to perpetuate this ugly and reactionary ideology. Such thinking is not only archaic and colonial but also outdated.
The beginning of the war against negative ethnicity should therefore begin not by moralising about it but by dealing with its root causes. The political system of Isiolo County needs to be changed to liberate us from poverty and underdevelopment.
Yes, negative ethnicity in the county is a manifestation of poverty, underdevelopment, ignorance and reactionary ideas that arise out of definite internal and external factors caused by continued mismanagement of human and natural resources in the County leading to class, gender, age, ethnic and regional inequalities and mindless competition for purportedly scarce resources. Yet, the scarcity of resources is a creation of the capitalist system that allows only a few individuals to own and control the natural and human resources of the county at the expense of the majority found in all ethnic groups of Isiolo. To begin to eradicate negative ethnicity, therefore, the socio-political and economic system must be transformed and the only person to do this without any tinge of doubt is Hon. Abdul Bahari Ali.
HON. BAHARI’S VISON FOR THE PEOPLE OF ISIOLO COUNTY
- To work for a united and a progressive Isiolo County with equal opportunities for all, and where all people respect human dignity, offering a people centred-leadership that reflects the key pillars of social justice, gender and generational equity;
- To plant ethical and value-driven seed of leadership for the benefit of the society that he leads in order to foster justice and development for all;
- To provide visible and effective political leadership in Isiolo County comparable to none since independence;
- To remove the culture of fear and dependency in isiolo County so that politically, economically, socially independent and self-reliant people can emerge to focus on issues of constructive development, equity and social justice;
- Generate insights into the challenges facing the community and exploring possibilities of moving from surviving to thriving in political leadership;
- Creating a new political leadership culture for Transforming Isiolo County into a truly democratic, value-oriented and efficient society;
- Nurturing organic emergence and systemic evolution of new values in political leadership in Isiolo County;
- Enhancing capacity for institution building within upcoming leadership as a cornerstone of a new, open and pluralistic democratic society in Isiolo County;
- Improving good governance through responsive value-driven leadership and inspiring a national consciousness and a sense of nationhood;
- Putting in place the number of quality leaders in political decision-making spheres and Institutionalizing leadership development in Isiolo County;
- Re-defining and re-engineering political leadership and de-commercializing politics by eradicating the culture of handouts and the use of poverty as a tool for self-serving political manipulation; and
- Preparing visionary, value-oriented and progressive leaders to take up political leadership roles to spiral the county to greater heights.
HON. BAHARI’S BLUEPRINT (MANIFESTO) IN A NUTSHELL
- Job creation;
- Access to better health services;
- Improve food security;
- Promotion of both local & international tourisms;
- Access to better and quality education;
- Promotion of livestock marketing;
- Promote trade/investment;
- Promote sustainable environment;
- Promote natural resource management and land reforms;
- Introduce a vibrant, innovative and accessible financial services; and
- Promote manufacturing and mining.
The enviable rise and rise of Hon. Bahari has been informed by the leadership of misery and impunity starring the deficiencies of the current political class ranging from mega corruption, crippled devolved governance, abuse of office, blatant nepotism, weak human resource policy guidelines, gross misconduct to neglect of the electorates in all the fundamental tenets of social-economic empowerment of the society.
They say, If people’s resolutions are about self-improvement then those in the political circles should surely be making longer lists than most, and somewhere on those lists, below rekindling the spluttering flame of the economy, should be embracing the common mantra. Like a sculptor’s chisel or a fisherman’s net, charismatic leadership is the statesman’s essential tool, yet current Isiolo leaders are content to spew out dry management-speak that has become the stale norm.
More often than not a focused leadership needs to indulge in rich cadences that capture the hopes, fears and aspirations of the people of Isiolo County. And the person who fits that bill squarely is none other than Hon. Abdul Bahari Ali. In times of crisis, should a leader be more timid in their approach or bolder? Replace the word dearth with “leadership” and you have the answer. Crises require leadership; leadership requires people-centered consultation, which the current inefficient leadership in Isiolo County languishes in it to the very deep end.
Consider the deep, textured prose of Gladstone, the fiery energy of Lloyd George or the imagery of Martin Luther King, whose “I Have a Dream” speech was poetry plain and simple. Those at the helm of political leadership must lift people’s sights to greater things.
There’s a lot you have to learn to live with if one is going to hold elected office and live a public life in Kenya today. Privacy, for example, is difficult to maintain, for you and your family.
Criticism, when you receive it and you can count on receiving it, from political adversaries, if not from the man on the street or from the media is sometimes searing, frequently personal and almost always public. The media ; newspapers, television, radio and shadowy pedestrian analyzing their words and deeds, scrutinizing their intentions, second-guessing their decisions and questioning their intelligence, not to mention their integrity. In this regard, we have been subjected to theatre of absurd and bizarre drama by the current ruling regime for five consecutive years instead of providing basic services and proper governance to the hoi polloi’s and down trodden populace of Isiolo County.
It’s hard to imagine a career other than professional athletics or entertainment where one’s job performance is as visible, as studied and as magnified as a politician’s. Like an athlete and an entertainer, an elected official today must face questions not only about how he is doing his job but how he is living his life and how he has lived his life and in this case Hon. Abdul Bahari Ali has been TRIED, TESTED & TRUSTED in both public and private arena. Besides being expected to account for almost any aspect of his present existence, he may well be asked to explain things he did years or even decades ago, long before he entered public life and without any benefit of doubt, he can respond to it devoid of any hesitation. Unlike an athlete and an entertainer, whose wayward behavior past or present can often embellish a career, a politician’s words and deeds are typically held to the highest of standards, and he is, in the most acutely direct sense, answerable for those actions; answerable to the public. They are the people who hired him. They are the people who can fire him. And they are also the people to whom he must constantly turn to for not only approval but also outright rejection owing to the fact that Hon. Bahari had an enviable wealth of experience on matters pertaining to community and people-servant leadership who shall always be accountable to the people who gave him that mandate.
BAHARI: THE PROVERBIAL TROJAN HORSE
Before I embark on the very essence and the moral hallmark of my story, let me apprise you on the literary application of the proverbial Trojan horse to the contemporary politics now trending in Isiolo County which is not only ugly but also very unfortunate. During the Bronze Age conflict between the kingdoms of Troy and Mycenaean Greece–straddles the history and mythology of ancient Greece and inspired the greatest writers of antiquity, from Homer, Herodotus and Sophocles to Virgil. Since the 19th-century rediscovery of the site of Troy in what is now western Turkey, archaeologists have uncovered increasing evidence of a kingdom that peaked and may have been destroyed around 11,180 B.C.—perhaps forming the basis for the tales recounted by Homer some 400 years later in the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey.”
A long time ago, there was an ancient city-state on the coast of Turkey, across the sea from Sparta. This city-state was named Troy. At one time, Troy and the other Greek city-states were pretty good friends. But times had changed. The city of Troy was protected by a high wall built around the city. Some parts of the wall were 20 feet high! There were gates in the wall to let people in and out but it provided great defense for the people of Troy. It gave the Trojan warriors a relatively safe place to stand, while they rained arrows down on the people below, who were trying to break into the city.
The Greek warriors had been trying to breach the wall around Troy for about ten years. The Greeks could not find a way in, and the Trojans did not seem able to drive the Greeks away.Odysseus, a Greek general, had an idea. His plan was to build a horse, a beautiful and huge wooden horse, and leave it outside the gate. Then, the entire Greek army would pretend to leave, as if they had finally admitted defeat. But the horse would be hollow. Thirty men would be hiding inside. That’s what they did.As the Greek warriors sailed away, the people of Troy rushed outside, cheering. They found the horse. Fortunately, they did not try to burn the horse. They dragged the horse inside the city gates to keep it on display, which is just what the Greek general thought they would do – gloat. That night, while the Trojan people were sleeping, the men hiding inside the wooden horse climbed out and opened the gates. The waiting Greek army entered Troy. That was the end of Troy. Just like General Odysseus, Hon. BAHARI crafted political Trojan horse since 2013 within and without the backyard of the current political neophyte, raided their turf and capitalised on the inherent weak administration of the current establishment and achieved a great victory despite the futile struggle put in place by them to disintegrate Hon. Bahari’s political base by using dirty money which ultimately turned into hollow hubris by state-of-the art style approach of hurricane Mfereji. It was all purely cosmetic. Ditto!
A politician will also have to endure the disdain of those who consider this profession little more than bartering political favours for money and votes. You may well be sullied by the fight for election, drawn into the kind of negative campaigning and mudslinging that leaves both winners and losers dirtied and degraded in the public eye. Upon entering office, one will step into yet another arena that will turn uglier than ever before, this is normally infected with the partisan infighting of leadership that are polarized today to a degree unequaled in our County’s (Isiolo) recent history. However, Hon. Abdul Bahari is a politician cum-technocrat who can restore the much required sanity without any aura bravado and brouhaha.
Public confidence among Isiolo County did not plummet overnight. It did begin with the hitherto administration with impunity and misery that choked the innocent peasants of Isiolo. Current politicians and Isiolo County government have not endured suspicion and a certain degree of scorn since the birth of this County in the second Republic. This skepticism on the part of the Isiolo residents is a grand tradition, as deeply rooted in our society as the spirit of freedom and independence and limited government.
What is new, however, is the degree to which that suspicion and scorn have grown in the past five years. Within the five years, the people of Isiolo County have been subjected to unprecedented parade of betrayals of the public trust, from the deception that lay behind the absentee leaders to the shock of the shadowy and skewed tenderpreneurs currently on the prowl in Isiolo County.
That’s an awful beating for a political system to take over the course of just one generation. And it has brought us to a low point in the Isiolo people’s relationship with their immediate government.
They are experiencing a real crisis of confidence not just in their leaders but in the value of public life in our democracy, which troubles us deeply because we have lived that life for those same past years and I think we deserve better than what we are offered now. We have experienced its challenges and felt its pitfalls and pressures. We have felt the viciousness of partisanship infect the process of politics to the point where reasonable collaboration becomes almost impossible. We have watched supposedly good personalities become corrupted, their judgment clouded by zealotry and ideological obligation, by ego and ambition, by the dark side of power and prestige, or simply and sadly by desires that become needs to fleece devolved tax payers funds from the exchequer to the revenues collected locally.
The resilient people of Isiolo have watched these things every other day on the pages of hundreds of newspapers and magazines, they read ringside accounts of the latest political conundrum, corruption and unbridled greed on the part of the current leeches and mandarins managing the affairs of Isiolo County.
With such a wealth of access and input, it’s easy to feel that we’ve got more than enough information about the ugly events that unfolds in our treasured County and those who are living it to make conclusive judgments about the quality, the value and even the future of that life messy and unbearable. This is not only unfortunate but also a sad one.
Like the Iroko tree that shall remain strong and sturdy in a binding way and by making a realistic promise. Hon. Abdul Bahari Ali is darling of the people and bestrode the entire county like the colossus. He shall definitely put his intention into words, makes them true on some level and thus binds himself to the service of impoverished people of Isiolo County.
Hon Abdul Bahari Ali is extremely skillful and tackled various duties of any organization religiously. He was a strict stickler of time and rules of engagement and performed the entire task beyond reproach.
We therefore, have no time to experiment, no time to gamble!