SULEIMAN SUMBA: POL­I­TICS NOT HIS FIRST CHOICE

SULEIMAN SUMBA, KAKAMEGA GOV­ER­NOR AS­PI­RANT / Be­fore his re­tire­ment, Sumba’s 24-year ca­reer in the mil­i­tary saw him serve in in four dif­fer­ent coun­tries in­clud­ing: Sierra Leone, DRC Congo, South­ern Su­dan and parts of Su­dan, par­tic­u­larly in Dar­fur.

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Suleiman Sumba is still con­vinced that the mil­i­tary of­fers by far the most at­trac­tive pro­fes­sion.

And even though he re­tired in 2012 to join pol­i­tics, Sumba re­mains nos­tal­gic about his time in the armed forces and he would read­ily re­turn to duty if asked.

“The mil­i­tary is the best ca­reer there is. I am ready to go back if asked. There is noth­ing as good as pro­tect­ing your coun­try from ex­ter­nal en­e­mies,” he says.

Sumba who has de­clared his in­ter­est in the Kakamega gov­er­nor­ship, says of­fi­cers trust each other in the mil­i­tary.

“Here on the put­side, trust is hard to come by,” he ex­plains, not­ing that he is re­stricted from talk­ing about what hap­pens inside the mil­i­tary camp.

Be­fore his re­tire­ment, Sumba’s 24-year ca­reer in the mil­i­tary saw him serve in in four dif­fer­ent coun­tries in­clud­ing: Sierra Leone, Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo, South­ern Su­dan and parts of Su­dan par­tic­u­larly in Dar­fur.

“The mis­sion in Dar­fur was hec­tic be­cause of the harsh cli­mate but we suc­cess­fully ac­com­plished the mis­sion.”

Sumba is a house­hold name in Mu­mias sub-county es­pe­cially in Mu­mias Town.

His pres­ence is al­ways ac­knowl­edged ev­ery time he wan­ders around the area.

He is proud when­ever he is recog­nised in pub­lic

He re­signed from the mil­i­tary with the in­ten­tion to con­test­ing for the gov­er­nor­ship in the 2013 gen­eral elec­tion.

But he de­cided to sup­port Wy­cliffe Oparanya who went on to win the seat.

Oparanya re­warded him with an ap­point­ment in the county cab­i­net, serv­ing as the ex­ec­u­tive in the Lands and fi­nally Sports and Cul­ture dock­ets.

But as it of­ten hap­pens in pol­i­tics, the two fell out. The de­tails of their dis­agree­ment re­main scanty. Peo­ple close to Oparanya claim he was sacked for cor­rup­tion re­lated rea­sons.

But Sumba ar­gues that he left the cab­i­net on his own vo­li­tion be­cause of in­ces­sant frus­tra­tions and in­tim­i­da­tion from the gov­er­nor.

Ei­ther way, Sumba has vowed that he will never again make the mis­take of sup­port­ing a politi­cian in an elec­tion.

“Over my dead body,” he quips an­grily. “Once beaten twice shy.”

He has been meet­ing his sup­port­ers to strate­gise on how he can pre­vail in the next gen­eral elec­tion.

Nel­son Man­dela For­mer South African Pres­i­dent I learned that courage was not the ab­sence of fear, but the tri­umph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who con­quers that fear.

“THE MIL­I­TARY IS THE BEST CA­REER THERE IS. I AM READY TO GO BACK IF ASKED.”

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