Suleiman Dori: Brave leader who fought for his people

Suleiman Dori Msambweni MP Aga Khan Hospital

Msambweni MP Suleiman Dori was eulogised as a brave leader during his burial in Gasi, Kwale County, on March 9.

Dori (pictured) who was buried on the same day he died succumbed to cancer at Aga Khan Hospital in Mombasa.

The second-term MP left behind a widow and several children.

Dori was first elected as Msambweni MP in 2013.

Before joining politics, Dori was a clearing and forwarding agent in Mombasa. In 2013, he beat Omar Zonga to clinch the Msambweni parliamentary seat.

He was also a land rights activist and once led a group of squatters to invade a private farm in Gazi. He was also a fierce critic of National Land Commission (NLC), which he said did not live up to the expectations of Coast residents.

In January last year, ODM National Executive Committee made a decision to have Dori and Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa expelled from the party.

The party demanded that Dori apologises to Raila or face expulsion. Dori wrote an apology letter and his expulsion was halted.

He surrendered rather meekly to the ODM leadership and publicly avowed his loyalty to the ODM party and Raila.

The ODM brigade was led by the party chairman John Mbadi and Siaya Senator James Orengo, while Ruto’s side was represented by National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale and Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi.

Coast leaders were led by governors Salim Mvurya (Kwale) and Amason Kingi  (Kilifi). The leaders, who kept off politics, described Dori as a brave and courageous leader.

Earlier, a group of young people booed Mbadi after he criticised Ruto, claiming he had lost integrity to hold the second highest office in the country.

Mbadi said Ruto should be held accountable for the scandals hatched in his office, and should not blame State officials over the Sh39 billion fake firearms deal scandal.

But Duale cautioned leaders against introducing politics at the burial.

“We have come here to bury our colleague and it is not time for politics,” warned Mr Duale.

Ruto’s ally and Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi also told off Mr Mbadi, saying it was wrong him to use the forum to discredit the DP.

In his message of condolence delivered by Duale, President Uhuru Kenyatta described Mr Dori as a courageous and patriotic leader who championed land rights for his people.

Orengo said Msambweni people should be given a chance to pick the next leader democratically.

Brave politician

For many people, Dori was a brave leader who fought for the interest of his people, but some say he was a symbol of rebellion following his altercations with his party’s leadership.

The MP had vowed to work with any leader regardless of political affiliations for the benefit of his people.

Prof Hassan Mwakimako, a political analyst, said Dori was a pragmatic leader who “wanted to keep an open mind”, but his brand of politics could not flourish in ODM. “He did not read the political environment very well. He wanted to be pragmatic but he failed because of party politics,” said Mwakimako.