Since the passage of the new constitution in 2010 and the implementation of devolution, clan elders have played a central role in determining election outcomes in North Eastern Kenya.
The so called ‘negotiated democracy’ has been the driving principle in the nomination of candidates for various office. As it is practised, clan elders come together and propose the individuals who should run for each political seat.
In the elections of 2013 and 2017, the system seemed to have worked well and many sitting Governors of NEP counties succeeded through it.
In recent months, however, the system has come under intense criticism. Those seeking to overhaul the system say it has removed self determination from Somali voters to influence peddlers, often well connected elders who reside in the major towns like Nairobi.
From the look of things, the nominations for the 2022 general elections will take place in a wholly transformed political environment devoid of the brinkmanship of the elders.