AHMEDNOOR SALEH: GIANTKILLER FROM THE NORTH
AHMEDNOOR SALEH / His interest in politics came about by accident. It all started back in 2015, when he joined a group of professionals from the region for a 1000km walk from Garissa to Mandera.
“I MET FACES OF DESPAIR; SMILES OF HOPELESSNESS AND HEARTS OF A PEOPLE COMMITTED TO CHANGE THE CHARACTER OF THEIR OWN SOCIETY.”
Ahmednoor Saleh is convinced that the “youth are the leaders of tomorrow” mantra has lost its lustre. “Tomorrow” for him is today and now.
In what can simply be defined as yet another David v Goliath contest, Saleh, 25, wants to unseat the 76-year political titan, Yusuf Haji as senator of Garissa county.
He is the youngest senatorial aspirant thus far.
But he is determined to break the tradition by overthrowing the status quo in the North.
His interest in politics came about by accident. It all started back in 2015, when he joined a group of professionals from the region for a 1000km walk from Garissa to the border town of Mandera.
“It is a walk that changed my life forever,” he says with his characteristic smile.
“I met faces of despair; smiles of hopelessness and hearts of a people committed to change the character of their own society.”
Dubbed “Walk of Hope” it was organised by social activists in an attempt to preach harmony among pastoralists to avert perennial bloody ethnic conflicts in the region waged at the altar of resources.
“I took the walk to have an impact on the lives of the people; to make a difference in their lives however small. Instead the walk influenced my life. The people made a difference in me in a manner I had never imagined.”
Known among friends as Zidan, due to his passion for football, Saleh is grateful the 2010 constitution brought resources closer to the people.
“But so too was corruption and mismanagement,” he adds, smiling.
“I made up my mind. These resources had to be insulated from corrupt networks so as to reach out to everyone,” says the Starehe Boys and University of Nairobi alumnus.
“Garissa needs a senator who represents its interests well; a senator who is in touch with the people; creative enough to work with the governor to help improve the welfare of the people; bold enough to ensure the interests of the county are catered for.”
But the aspirant stays clear of the performance, or lack of it, of the incumbent, Haji, saying as a young man, he cannot discuss his elder.
While at Starehe, he learnt the virtues of sacrifice and brotherhood; the commitment and passion to serve community, that you are your brother’s keeper.
He has a message for the young, who aspire to make a difference in society:
“The young people of this nation. We are the generation of hope. Everyone else has fallen off the cliff of the people that are responsible of everything that is wrong with Kenya.”