Association of Kenyans in Norway (AKIN)
His Worship the Mayor of Southwark, Britain!!
|His worship Councillor Abdul Mohamed, the new mayor of Southwark, Britain|
By Shamlal Puri
The south-east London borough of Southwark has a new Mayor - His worshipful Councillor Abdul Mohamed, the amiable Eldoret-born British Kenyan.
His appointment was announced recently at the Council Assembly replacing the outgoing Mayor Cllr Althea Smith. Cllr Mohamed was the Deputy Mayor last year and will hold the office of the Mayor in 2013-2014.
Cllr Mohamed said: “It is an honour for me to be elected Mayor and I am really looking forward to representing Southwark in this important role. As Deputy Mayor, I was fortunate to meet many local people who never failed to impress me with their sense of community and compassion for the most vulnerable in society. I hope I can continue to work with everyone in Southwark to celebrate the diversity that we love as London Borough of Southwark brings the nations of the world together.”
The career engineer, who has lived in the Peckham suburb of south-east London for the past 25 years, loves to meet people socially. During his year as the Mayor, he is looking forward to meeting a lot of new people and making new friends as he attends ceremonial events and gatherings in the local community of Southwark borough.
He is a keen cyclist who champions cycling in his borough for residents to get fitter and Southwark would become a pollution-free area. He has committed himself to making less use of the Mayoral car and more use of public transport and his bicycle.
Southwark is one of the largest authorities in the UK with a population of 283,000. The Council has as Annual turnover of £1.5 billion, a revenue budget of £310 million and a ten-year capital programme of £1,096 million.
Mayor Mohamed spent his childhood in Uasin Gishu. His grandfather was a well-known commercial trader in Kapsowar, Elgeyo Markawet, after being demobbed as a soldier with the Kings African Rifles’ Camel Corps. He went to African Inland Mission School in Kapsowar before attending Alliance High School, Kikuyu. Mayor Mohamed is married to Caroline McDonald, an Australian, and they have one son Farah, aged 16.
He attended the University of Nairobi before leaving for the UK and graduating from Leeds University in Yorkshire where he trained with the former National Coal Board as a mining engineer. He then returned to Africa to work as a mining engineer. He worked in the Copper Belt in Zambia.
Mayor Mohamed has had an interesting career in the UK. He has worked in inner city regeneration since the late 1980s. He has worked for several London borough councils carrying out regeneration work involving older properties in Haringey, north London and Lambeth, south London. He has worked on various projects on large inner city estates such as Broadwater Farm, remembered for race riots on 6 October 1985, involving the Police and young Afro-Caribbean residents living there.Cllr Mohamed also worked on the regeneration of the Angel Town Estate in London.
He has been active member of the Britain's Labour Party for three decades. He was also an active trade union member and shopsteward for UNISON, the public service union. He is one of the ward councillors for the local Faraday ward since May 2002.
Cllr Mohamed has been previous Cabinet Member for this authority. He has been a Chair of the Walworth Community Council and Chair of the Democracy Commission, which was set up to review the democratic institutions for the Authority. He has served on the New Deal for Communities and Creation Trust Boards.
Charity for the year
His chosen charity for this year is the Evelina Children’s Hospital, part of St Thomas Hospital, in Lambeth, South London. He praised the community spirit of Southwark’s residents, adding that their compassion for the most vulnerable in the society had deeply impressed him.Mayor Mohamed’s is a story of the growing influence of Britain's Kenyan community serving in various capacities in the local government.
That day is not far when a British- Kenyan will be occupying a ministerial position in the British Cabinet in the same way as the British Ghanaian Paul Boateng did in the Labour Government of Prime Minister Tony Blair and becoming Britain's first Black Cabinet minister.Cllr Mohamed’s achievement is another feather in the cap of Britain's Kenyan community and a great example of immigrants integrating and contributing fully to this country’s economy.