By Suleiman Hassan
President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday at State House – Nairobi, hosted three participants of the 1000km Garissa-Wajir-Mandera trek dubbed the walkofhope.
Accompanied by members of the North Eastern Professionals Association (NEPA), the three walkers, Noordin Badel Tube, Ahmedour Saleh Mohamud, Salah Mohamed Abdinoor were received by the President in a high level meeting graced by North Eastern regional commissioner Mohamud Saleh.
The visit caused a stir with a section of North Eastern residents feeling the three walkers betrayed their colleagues arguing that it would have been better had the president hosted all the organizers and participants of the trek which succeeded in raising awareness in and out of the region.
Lead activist and organizer Salah Abdi Sheikh was not seen anywhere near State House as he confirmed on his twitter that he was in the dark about the visit.
“This is just to inform you that some members of #WalkOfHope visited State House today. I can confirm that I was not informed or consulted” Salah said in a tweet.
Claims of betrayal rented the air with Northerners taking to social media to condemn those who went to the House on the Hill.
Mandera Senator Billow Kerrow said that it was a pity that the famed #WalkofHope came to ‘this sorry end’.
He questioned the objectivity of only three walkers being hosted by State House.
“Truly, it makes us a laughing stock! Just at the time all political leaders from the region were issuing an unprecedented statement on Uhuru government’s attempt to roll back devolution funds, these men were thanking the prezzo (President) for being kind enough to meet them” Said Kerrow.
Kerrow’s sentiments were echoed by Environmentalist Amb. Abdikadir Aden who equally condemned the move by ‘few fake individuals’ who made their way to State House in the name of #WalkOfHope.
“Meeting The President in a professional style could be of more value to me and any other person if the real owners were on board. The Great People of North eastern and Kenyans’ hearts have not been touched at all by the incident that happened yesterday” Abdikadir Said.
Abdikadir took issue with the North Eastern Professionals Association dismissing them as fronting selfish interests with no good intention for North Eastern.
“…claiming to represent the learned people from North Eastern Province when our schools have no teachers. I actually don’t understand what they stand for and up to” he said adding that the whole initiative has been hijacked and ambushed.
Although many feel the three walkers betrayed their colleagues in the trek and notably lead activist and organizer Salah Abdi Sheikh, the later remained conciliatory saying the visit was done in good faith.
“Those people who are attacking the #WalkOfHope walkers on the visit to StateHouse are really doing us a disservice. Let me put to all of you that Everything that was done in good intention and that Nobody was betrayed or disrespected” he said adding that while some of us may not agree with an approach taken by some members, that doesn’t give anyone the license to insult anybody.
“The people who walked 1000km DO NOT deserve to be insulted, abused or vilified. They deserve every attention, Award or celebration they get. The debate about the State House visit should now be CLOSED, finished, it is old news” Salah concluded.