Suna East MP and ODM Director of Elections Junet Noor Mohammed is a towering political colossus in Migori, so formidable he is that when he sought as second term, his opponents decided to put individual interests aside and made a pact aimed at ousting him.
At the National level, the first ever politician of Somali descent to be elected in Nyanza has cemented his place as Raila Odinga’s blue eyed boy much to the chagrin of other politicians from the region.
He being part of the meeting between Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta where the two buried the hatchet is a clear indication that he is one Odinga’s most trusted allies.
And when he posted pictures with Raila in Zanzibar after the boycotted repeat elections, tongues flickered that they had gone to broker deal with Maghufuli to overthrow the Jubilee Government. Well, a far-fetched notion but one thing was for sure, ‘wuod Suna’ was with ‘Baba’ at a moment when he needed his gallant soldiers around him most.
It goes without saying that he is one Odinga’s most trusted aides who when it comes to defending his party leader and the Party, he unlocks the guards on his tongue even on live TV unapologetically.
Mohammed’s political journey is a paragon of the dictum against ethnic odds; popularly known as “Wuod Suna,” (Son of Suna) in Migori, the man has risen from a little known shopkeeper in Migori town to a revered and loathed political name in the Country.
Hardly a missing figure in pertinent meetings and functions held by ODM leader Raila Odinga, Junet has cut a niche and got a space in the inner circle of Odinga, a coveted fete that many Luo Nyanza politicians yearn to achieve. Consequently, he has earned his fair share of foes and as he opines, “I do not fathom why it is so”
Allegedly, his foes cannot wrap their heads around how “an ‘Oria’ can climb the political ladder so fast and be a darling of “Baba.”
In ODM, he is the Director of Elections, but forget the title; he has a subtle yet powerful position that is untitled. So significant and profound is his touted “silent” position in ODM that when he allegedly made remarks that former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero might miss on the ticket, the latter wrote a letter to the party in protest.
The million dollar question however is how a man of Somali decent got elected in Migori which is predominantly Luo.
Jossy Otiep, a close ally and his right hand man in the County narrated how the once little known businessman funded an MP aspirant who later paid in kind thus fueling Junnet’s political vehicle.
Born and bred in Migori, it is a little wonder that he eloquently speaks a few words in Luo, but says as much as he cannot speak every word, he understands the language well.
He comes from the smallest of the minorities; that is the Somali Muslims in the County largely found in Migori town and the Sirare border mainly because the two centers are good for business.
“In 2002 when one Owino Likowa was seeking to unseat Owino Achola for the larger Migori constituency Parliamentary seat, he was a man of little means,” Otiep said and as a few extended helping hands here and there, a young Somali businessman secretly helped fund Likowa’s campaign.
When Likowa won the seat, he rewarded the little businessman (Junet) with the position of a nominated Councilor where he rose and served as Migori town Mayor for two terms.
“The natives of Suna were infuriated that an outsider had been nominated to the council and their anger was more driven by the fact that he was very little known,” Otiep narrated.
He added that while Junet served as nominated councilor and later as a Mayor for the two terms, he built a strong rapport with the youth and women.
“Even as we speak, the elderly have never bought his candidature owing to their clinch to culture that frowns upon community leadership mantle being bestowed on an outsider; but Junet enjoys overwhelming support from the youth and women,” he explained.
The Suna legislator attributed him being elected in Migori for a second term election to “Democratic maturity of the people of Suna and largely Migori,” where he says the people look at leadership qualities as opposed to ethnic background.
He said he used his position as nominated councilor to make inroads and build a rapport with the people.
“My opponents pulled the tribal emotional cards saying I am a Somali but the people knew that well enough when they elected me and I have served them diligently. My track record speaks for itself,” Junet added.
Well, considering he is under pupilage from the enigma of Kenyan politics himself, for Junet, the Star can only shine brighter.