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Drama as Obado’s seat pulled away from Raila’s side at Migori burial

ODM leader Raila Odinga with Migori Governor Okoth Obado during the burial of Former Ndhiwa MP Zablon Owigo Olang' in Sori, Migori county on January 23 2021. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

There was drama during the recent burial of former MP Zablon Owigo Olang’ in Migori when someone took off with the official seat of Governor Okoth Obado.

The governor’s handlers had strategically placed the seat next to ODM leader’s Raila Odinga. However, another chair was sneaked in at the same spot where the governor’s was.

This happened before the burial began and as Obado walked to the venue, he was surprised to find his initial seat was not there.

The governor was forced to sit next to the late Owigo’s first wife, whose seat was instead placed besides Raila’s until the burial ended.

Obado accused Nyatike MP Tom Odege and Raila’s aide Dennis Onyango for the mishap, saying the two wanted to bring a rift between him and the ODM leader.

“I am not happy with what happened. The seat which was being fought over is no longer there. There are people here who want to bring a rift between me and Raila. They want to ensure the governor is seen very far from the (former) Prime Minister,” Obado lamented.

Protocol hitch as a woman is seated between ODM leader Raila Odinga and Governor Obado whose seat is empty during the burial of the late Zablon Owigo Olang’ on January 23, 2021. [Caleb Kingwara, Standard]

Obado said it was proper for him to sit next to the ODM leader and get a chance of whispering to him the problems facing his people, but he was denied that chance.

This enraged Odege, who attempted to storm the podium and snatch the microphone from the governor but was restrained by Suna East MP Junet Mohamed and Siaya Senator James Orengo.

Governor Obado also interjected citing breach of protocol when Senator Orengo asked Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti to address mourners. Obado quickly rose and grabbed the microphone from Orengo who quietly went and took his seat.

The governor proceeded to attack the senator whom he indirectly told that “as people of Migori county they would not allow people from outside to come and divide them.”

“I will not accept some people to come and interfere with us here. They don’t know how we are living. The Build Bridges Initiative (BBI) is meant to bring us together as a community but not to separate us,” Obado added.

Suba Council of Elders chairman Japheth Riogi termed the incident as embarrassing, saying leaders are expected to act with decorum.

He also criticised the former prime minister linked the governor with Deputy President William Ruto’s camp when he said that he “also saw Obado distributing wheelbarrows somewhere” said Migori has been treated as “opposition” within ODM.  

“Migori, out of all Luo counties of Homa Bay, Kisumu and Siaya has been treated as “opposition” despite being in the forefront in pushing for ODM agenda,” Mzee Riogi said.

Migori Governor Okoth Obado (in white cap) distributes equipment's including wheelbarrows at Kababu Vocation Training Centre on January 19, 2021. [Caleb Kingwara, Standard]

Governor Obado’s photos where he is seen distributing wheelbarrows among other items at a Vocational Training centre in Migori have since gone viral.

Migori County ODM Organising Secretary Joseph Nyambori echoed Mzee Riogi’s sentiments, saying what transpired at the burial was an insult to ODM supporters.

Nyambori defended the governor, saying the equipment was distributed by the Ministry of Education and are set to benefit learners at the tertiary institution.

According to him, the former prime minister was misadvised by his handlers.

“What we know, Governor Obado presided over the distribution of learning equipment to Vocational Training Centres. Apart from wheelbarrows, there were other items issued out. Raila handlers misadvised him and created division,” Nyambori said.

The mistrust pitting Migori leaders was also witnessed during the burial.

Although Obado paid loyalty to Raila, he got lukewarm support from the ODM leader.

He has in the past been seen as Deputy President William Ruto’s ally.

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