One in every of Kenya’s greatest identified authorities directors, Mohamed Yusuf Haji, died not too long ago aged 88, nonetheless actively engaged in public service as each senator and chairman of a structure revision group.
Born in Garissa in 1940, Haji was a beneficiary of the pre-independence colonial initiative to establish younger skills to fill the sneakers of departing British colonial directors. He joined the executive service as a District Officer in 1960.
In that yr, Britain referred to as the primary Lancaster House Conference to find out Kenya’s future. It decreed that ‘natives’ would rule. Officers then intensified recruitment of potential African directors and bureaucrats.
Simeon Nyachae, one other lengthy serving administrator wrote in his autobiography that new recruits had been skilled to take over Kenya’s administration at independence.
Officers within the provincial administration had been expected to be very loyal to the state and needed to do as ordered, with out questions. Haji discovered this lesson effectively, remaining loyal to the pursuits of the Kenyan authorities all through his profession in public service.
Haji, the most prominent provincial administrator from the Somali group, later turned a politician in 1998. He remained a folks’s consultant till his dying.
Two public photographs
Veteran Nairobi journalist John Kamau wrote not too long ago that Haji had two public images; the administrator who threw his weight round on one hand, and the common-or-garden peacemaker on the opposite.
As an administrator, Haji attracted detrimental consideration. He as soon as had a man imprisoned for not giving him a raise and was additionally identified to implement draconian guidelines.
As a provincial commissioner in Kenya’s Rift Valley province, Haji turned synonymous with former president Daniel arap Moi’s Nineteen Eighties excesses. He was accused of fanning ethnic clashes in 1989, 1992, and 1997. And two human rights investigative commissions – the Akiwumi Commission of Inquiry and the Truth, Justice, & Reconciliation Commission – referred to as him out for his alleged position in these ethnic clashes. He was accused of taking part in a component within the mass evictions of sure ethnic teams from Kenya’s Rift Valley province. Ethnic clashes had been widespread throughout the Moi regime. Moi used them to attain political factors and to undermine his critics. However Haji denied any involvement.
His 1998 nomination to Parliament put him on the trail to widespread respect as a clever political operative and peacemaker. He remained steadfast to the ruling celebration, the Kenya African Nationwide Union (KANU), resisting the 2002 National Rainbow Coalition wave that ousted KANU from energy after a 39-year run, 24 of which had been below Moi’s watch.
In 2002 he received the Ijara Constituency seat on a KANU ticket and was reelected in 2007. Notably, he served because the minister of defence from 2008 to 2013 throughout Kibaki’s second time period in workplace. It was throughout his tenure that Kenya Defence Forces troops had been deployed to Somalia to struggle the Al-Shabaab.
His dealing with of troubled Somalia throughout President Mwai Kibaki’s second administration (2007-2013) made him a peace maker.
As a part of his regional peace efforts, whereas serving as minister of defence, Haji helped to ascertain Somalia’s Transition Federal Authorities. He additionally supported the coaching of Somali safety forces to struggle terrorists.
Notably in 2011, Haji led a Kenyan delegation to satisfy with officers of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Authorities. They mentioned easy methods to handle the Al-Shabaab menace. He and Somalia’s Minister of Defence Hussein Arab Isse signed an agreement to collaborate in opposition to the rebel group. Kenyan troops had been then deployed to struggle the fear group.
Finally, he was a part of the group that made the final word resolution to pursue the Al-Shabaab terrorists into Somalia, and witnessed Kenyan troopers being ‘re-hatted’ into the African Union Mission in Somalia.
From 2013, he served because the Senator for Garissa County in Northern Kenya, and within the ultimate years of his life he was appointed the chairperson of Kenya’s Constructing Bridges Initiative Job pressure. Sadly, he didn’t stay to see it absolutely applied.
The initiative to amend the structure arose out of a March 2018 pact between Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga. They got here collectively after a contentious election in 2017 that divided the nation between the supporters of the 2 candidates.
Haji, the person
From my expertise, Haji was gentle spoken, straight to the purpose, and open to concepts. He was a person of his time, representing conflicting events, and capable of modify to prevailing realities. In his youth, he rose above secessionist parochialism to hitch the provincial administration even if his father, the elder Yusuf Haji, led a secessionist political party – the Northern Frontier Democratic Social gathering.
Whereas Haji – a Kenyan Somali – dedicated to serving the Kenyan state early in life, his father, Yusuf, was pushing for the secession of Kenya’s Northern Frontier District to Somalia. The secessionist motion, which started within the Sixties, eventually failed and officers within the provincial administration grew in energy.
Whereas within the provincial administration, he adjusted to the governing custom of complete obedience to political superiors. He did what was anticipated of him and he ended up being indicted for abusing human rights, primarily on the behest of his superiors.
And when he joined politics as a ruling celebration adherent, he rapidly adjusted to the truth of multi-party politics. He refused to hitch Raila Odinga’s 2002 rebellion within KANU, received the Ijara seat below the KANU umbrella, and remained loyal to celebration chief Uhuru Kenyatta, who went on to grow to be Kenya’s fourth and present president.
Haji turned a sober elder, taking note of volatility within the area. His efforts to make sure stability in Somalia gave him the status of a peacemaker. And by the point of his dying, he had witnessed 4 political transitions from colonialism to Uhuru Kenyatta. He, in some ways, embodied the colonial and post-colonial Kenyan expertise.