Mandera religious leaders have called for the replacement of the Somali Council of Elders.
They want new members to take over and give political direction.
Last Sunday, the leaders said the current members have held the lucrative communal seats for far too long – seven years in a row.
The group, led by Sid Sheikh Issack, said dissolving the board will diffuse political tension.
The 2017 general election was bitterly contested between a faction backed by the elders and those who defied the council’s decision not to run.
The contestants either vied on the Jubilee party tickets or Economic Freedom Party tickets.
Issack said the political division has derailed development.
“We want elections held by end of February to give mandate to a new team who will determine the region’s political representation,” he said.
About 20 elders from Mandera East are interested to be members of the new council. They believe new members will restore impartiality in political decisions.
Issack said the new council will speak with one voice and hasten development.
In 2017, the council was divided unlike previous elections when members had preferred candidates.
The members are elected by the community to represent their political interests.
“As clerics, we decided to reunite the council so the elders can speak with one voice,” Issack said.
He is the secretary of Mandera religious leaders. He spoke during a meeting in Mandera town.
He gave the council two weeks to call for elections. The polls will be held in Mandera East beginning with the Garre clan.
Other clans will thereafter elect their representatives. Garre elder Ugas Osman Rakhiso said the election was overdue.
“We are eagerly waiting for February 28 when we expect the elections to be held. We hope it will bring unity and shape our political direction,” Rakhiso said.
Rakhiso is a member of the current council and hopes to retain his seat. Elders in Mandera enjoy a huge political sway and often determine those elected to political seats.