By Tego Wolasa
When the history of the Burji is finally written, Mohammed Adan Safe, popularly known as Fayo Telle, will undoubtedly be remembered as one of Burji’s astute politicians.
Both his fans and foes agree that he spends most of his time and energy fighting for the rights of the Burji.
His close friend, Dr. Boku Boda, hopes that we won’t have to look back and regret the missed opportunity to benefit from his leadership in the future.
Dr. Boku opines that Ken Saro-Wiwa best captures Fayos’s predicament in his 1989 satiric story titled Africa Kills Her Sun.
The sun is a symbol of hope, life, a better future, and prosperity. That is why the writer used the sun instead of sons.
Metaphorically, it means that Africa kills its future by refusing to give a chance to good leaders who would have led them to prosperity.
Here is all you need to know about the fearless thirty-seven-year-old firebrand orator.
CHILDHOOD AND SCHOOLING
The last born in a family of four was born on December 27, 1983, to Mr. Telle Safe and Madam Bone Shuna.
Lieutenant Colonel Safe, the Commanding Officer 9KR, is his eldest brother, followed by Shuna Telle (now deceased), Hussein (Hiddo) Telle, and Fayo.
With his ancestral root in the Burji Kilicho area of the Burji District, Fayo identifies himself with Yaabbi Clan and the Hidd-Sale subclan.
Fayo commenced his education at the Kiwanja Ndege nursery in 1989 before Joining Sakuu Primary school between 1990 and 1998.
Fayo joined Marsabit boys in 1999 for secondary education but completed it at Eldorets Abrar high school in 2003.
In addition to attending training at the Kenya School of Government, Fayo holds a Diploma in Business Management from the University of Nairobi.
FAYO THE POLYGAMIST
Fayo married his first wife, Amina Alla Ali, in 2012. They are blessed with four adorable kids; twin boys and two girls.
Six years later, he married the second wife, Fatuma Hena Kora, and are blessed with an eighteen-month-old girl.
FORAY INTO POLITICS
In 2002, Fayo joined hands with Abdo Ala, Dr. Boku Boda, and Bare Sarbo to form the Students Helping Students Association (SHESA).
SHESA is the umbrella body for Burji students in Secondary School. The acronym SHESA is coincidentally close to the Burji term shesaga, which means ‘for you.’
Fayo midwifed the birth of Daash Youth Group in 2005. Jacob Elisha was elected its chairman, and Fayo as its Secretary-General.
In 2007, at the age of 24, Fayo vied for the Saku parliamentary Seat and came third with 1700 votes.
In addition to coming from a marginalized minority tribe, he was a greenhorn running against seasoned politicians. He was a college student with no financial muscle and no wife.
Fayo withstood countless attempts by the perceived front runners to financially induce him into shelving his political ambition in exchange for a cheque.
His action reignited the Burji political engine, which had died away since the days of the late Hon. Elisha Godana.
Hon. Elisha, the former Assistant Information Minister, served as the M.P. for Marsabit South between 1963-1966 and Marsabit North between 1974-1979.
In 2013 Fayo supported Dr. Jama for the parliamentary seat and instead went for the Marsabit Central Member of County Assembly.
Fayo lost to the winner by a mere 103 votes. He garnered 4282 against the winner’s 4385 votes.
His contribution towards the REGABU political alliance’s win in the 2013 election was rewarded with an appointment to the government.
During the 2017 general election, Fayo decamped from Ukurs REGABU political alliance to Mohammud Ali’s ‘team change.’
Subsequently, he shelved his political ambition and instead spent the time to campaign for H.E Mohammud.
He traversed the vast county, capturing the residents’ imagination with his oratory gift. His side carried the day.
HIS CURRENT JOB
After the victory, Fayo was appointed The Senior Principal Protocol Officer in the Governor’s Office, a position he handles to date.
In addition to handling protocol issues, the office is also tasked with event management and programs for the Governor.
Fayo is the Organizing Secretary for the Burji Professional Organisation (BPA) – Marsabit Chapter.
Before, during, and after the 2013 general election, he was among the negotiators’ team.
The team secured numerous appointments in the County Government of Marsabit then under, Ambassador Ukur Yatani.
Fayo also represented and presented a Burji memorandum to the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) in Marsabit.
In 2005, he led a successful peaceful demo against skewed police recruitment. The demonstration forced the government to repeat the exercise equitably and transparently.
Fayo also took part in the 2005 inter-community peace agreement.
Those in Marsabit describe Fayo as a leader who knows no boundaries when fighting for the welfare and rights of all Burji.
To him, it doesn’t matter which segment of the Burji you come from so long as you are a Burji and have a genuine case.
The above was manifested after the November 2020 murder of Teacher Jeremy Addo Hanche in November 2020.
Fayo was at the forefront of the peaceful demonstration against the murder and in demanding justice.
CRITICISMS AGAINST HIM
Donald Henry Rumsfeld, the former United States Secretary of Defense, said, ‘If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much.’
Fayo is loved and loathed almost in equal measure. Critics from other ethnic groups brand him a tribalist.
His competitors from within the Burji say that he overly loves the Burji Kilicho faction, his ancestral village of origin.
Ironically, his rivals from within Burji Kilicho loathe his political shrewdness. But we will let history make the judgment.
HIS GOALS AND ASPIRATIONS
Fayo wishes to place the Burji on the global map both politically and economically. He wants to see a unified Burji community with a worldwide unitary leader.
He is confident of clinching the Marsabit Central MCA seat in 2022. But it remains to be seen if he has mastered the tenuous ethnic-based Marsabit politics.