Court confirms ouster of Oloo as county speaker

Kisumu County Assembly Acting Speaker Elisha Oraro (centre) celebrates with his supporters along the streets of Kisumu after High court upheld the impeachment of former speaker Onyango Oloo. [Collins Oduor, Standard]
Former Kisumu County Assembly Speaker, Onyango Oloo has been dealt a major blow after an Industrial court upheld his impeachment.

In what could end his career as a Speaker of Kisumu County Assembly, the lawyer with high political connections, became the first speaker whose impeachment has been upheld by the court, since 2013 with Justice Nduma Nderi ruling that his petition lacked merit. 

Moments after the ruling Oloo put up a brave face and vowed to challenge the verdict by the Employment and Labour Relations at the Court of Appeal.

There was song and dance by supporters of the current regime led by Acting Speaker Elisha Oraro following the verdict as youths waved anti-Oloo placards.

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Speaker Onyango Oloo was impeached on September 19, 2019 after being accused of abuse of office, unlawful suspension of MCAs and being linked to Lake Basin Mall scandal.

And yesterday, the case Oloo is facing at the Nairobi Anti-Corruption court came back to haunt him after the judge ruled that the case had an inclination on the sanity of the office he held.

The decision was based on the precedence that had been set by Justice Mumbi Ngugi who had declared in a past ruling that public officers charged with corruption should stay away from the offices.

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But it is not only the anti-graft case that weighed down Oloo’s case, Justice Nderi ruled that Oloo’s impeachment was done in accordance with the law.

The judge noted that Hansard reports indicated that the Speaker was given a chance to defend himself before the House after he was served with a notice of motion of impeachment.

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“It is not in dispute that the petitioner (Oloo) was served with a notice of impeachment via an e-mail. The facts in the Hansard report are proven facts and the court treats them so,” said Nderi.

The decision by Oloo to suspend three MCAs from the House also came back to haunt him with the County Assembly listing it as one of the grounds that made it impeach him. In his suit, Oloo had sought for six orders including an order reinstating him as the Speaker. He had also sought to have all his benefits, privileges and allowances reinstated by the court.

His defense team led by Muga Apondi had told the court that Oloo was removed from his position of the Speaker was not procedural.

They argued that Oloo made attempt to issue a response, but was barred from accessing the County Assembly by “hooligans”.

In his ruling, Justice Nderi said that Oloo’s claim that he was barred by hooligans was a disputed fact. And in his verdict, the judge noted that Hansard reports and evidence presented in court showed that Oloo was impeached by 42 members which met the 75 percent threshold required by the law.

SEE ALSO :Race to replace Kisumu speaker kicks off

He noted that Oloo admitted receipt of the notice of impeachment, but failed to appear before the House.

“The facts have not been denied by the petitioner and he only said that he was not given time to respond,” said Justice Nderi. The judge also ordered Oloo to return County Assembly assets in his possession including a vehicle that was assigned to him.

The court ruling marks another huge blow for a man who has survived a number of controversies and had gotten a new lifeline after the ODM party supported him and urged its members to vote for him as speaker.

The honeymoon, however, was short lived as constant wrangles between MCAs allied to him and those who opposed his style of leadership threatened his survival.

Claims of financial misappropriation and dictatorship rocked his short stint as the Kisumu Speaker with the final in his coffin coming after he was charged with a graft related case.

SEE ALSO :Kisumu Speaker in new bid to save job

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Kisumu County AssemblyOnyango OlooCourt of AppealODM