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Tension in Migori as Obado’s impeachment quest gathers momentum

POLITICS
By Standard Team | September 4th 2020

ODM Chairman John Mbadi (left) and Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna at Chungwa House in Nairobi on Thursday, September 03, 2020, when they addressed the press on the planned impeachment of Migori Governor Okoth Obado by the county MCAs over corruption allegations. They said that already 27 MCAS have signed a petition to remove Obado from the office. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

A showdown is looming in Migori County as plans to impeach Governor Okoth Obado gather pace.

Rila Odinga party ODM has insisted Obado, who is facing several charges, including claims of corruption which saw a court bar him from accessing his office, must be kicked out.

Already, there are claims of threats, coercion and fear of violence as political temperatures in the county hit the roof over the governor’s planned impeachment. 

Yesterday, some residents took to social media to criticise the latest developments and threatened mass protests to force ODM, on whose ticket the governor was elected,  to rescind its decision.

If the impeachment fails, then it will be an embarrassment to the most popular party in the region and slap in the face for party leader Raila, as it seeks to strengthen itself ahead of the 2022 elections.

Party chairman John Mbadi yesterday declared Obado had lost all honour and should resign.

“Only a leader who has lost respect for his constituents and has no conscience would want to continue staying in office with such shameful charges against him,” Mbadi told a press conference at Orange House in Nairobi yesterday. 

He added: “We are aware the governor is trying to convene a cabinet meeting at his home which means he is determined to continue hanging onto the office and continue undermining his deputy who should be taking over the management of the county under the circumstances.”

There was anxiety with several MCAs telling The Standard they fear for their lives after allegedly receiving threats for supporting the impeachment.

Muhuru MCA Hevron Mahira, who is backing the ouster, is among those who claim they have received threats.

“There is a lot of intimidation going on and it is not going to be easy. I have already received threats and I have recorded a statement with the police,” said Mahira.

The MCA recorded a statement at Migori Police Station under OB/38/03/09/2020. He said unnamed people were planning to attack him for supporting Obado’s removal. 

Yesterday, some of the MCAs backing Obado’s impeachment trooped to Kisumu to strategise.

Those supporting the governor include the seven MCAs elected as independent candidates. Some Jubilee members are also backing Obado.

Cut deals?

Jubilee county coordinator Mwita Nyangi urged their members to back the motion to kick out Obado. Jubilee has five of the 55 MCAs.

Mwita said Jubilee MCAs are expected to vote alongside their ODM counterparts in the spirit of the handshake. He warned that disciplinary action will be taken against those who will go against the position of the party.

He accused Ntimaru MCA Augustine Muise, a Jubilee member, of trying to cut deals with some of his colleagues to block the motion.

“We are telling the MCA to toe the line. The same goes to all MCAs elected on Jubilee party ticket. Otherwise, they risk facing the wrath of the party,” he said.

However, the MCAs termed the attempt to stop him as malicious and said he will vote against the plot to impeach Obado.

“The quest to impeach Obado is political. We have not seen anything wrong Obado has done and as an individual, I cannot support his impeachment,” said Mr Muise.

Another ward rep, who asked not to be named, said a group of MCAs that has thrown its weight behind Obado will meet in Kuria today to plan on how they will save the county chief.

Sources told The Standard that the governor was busy working out ways to block the impeachment motion.

As the political fires raged, officials from the Orange party vowed to take stern actions against any member who goes against a directive to vote against Obado.

County ODM chairman Philip Makabong’o and secretary Joseph Michael said they will not be lenient with any ward rep who will go against its position.

“The party is ready to punish and discipline any errant MCA as per our constitution. Should any of them fail to support the impeachment motion against Obado, then they will be punished,” said Makabong’o.

Mbadi said the decision to remove Obado is irreversible. “It is wrong for the governor to try and use all the means he is trying to employ to soil our party and names of its leaders for what is not our mistake.

“Let it be clear to everyone that it is not Mbadi who made the decision. I have no grudge against the governor. This was a party resolution,” he said.

Migori County Assembly Minority leader Ken Ouma admitted that the issue is sensitive given that the House is divided.

Ouma disclosed that they have already initiated Obado’s impeachment.

[Harold Odhiambo, Kepher Otieno and Caleb Kingwara]

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