Orengo: My working relationship with Oduol is beyond repair

Siaya Governor James Orengo. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Siaya Governor James Orengo has told the Senate that his working relationship with Deputy Governor William Oduol was beyond repair and he regrets ignoring the advice of ODM leader Raila Odinga not to pick him.

Orengo and Oduol appeared before the Senate Devolution Committee in Parliament Buildings, Nairobi, yesterday, for deliberation on the alleged refusal by the governor to accept the deputy governor back in office after Senate dismissed the impeachment motion in July last year.

The governor told the committee chaired by Wajir Senator Sheikh Abbass that even if he decided to work with Oduol if he does not acknowledge that he belongs to the ODM party and agree to adhere to the spirit of collective responsibility, it would be difficult for the residents of Siaya to accept him back.

“I regret ignoring the advice given to me by ODM party Leader Raila Odinga and Siaya Senator Oburu Oginga against choosing Oduol as my running mate during the 2022 General Election. I experienced the consequences just after election for the short time I left him to be in charge of the county as I pursued Raila’s presidential election petition,” he said.

Orengo submitted that the deputy governor has been saying that Kenya Kwanza saved him while knowing very well that he operates in an area that is strongly pro-ODM party which he termed as political suicidal and he had also failed to prove allegations that he had been sidelined.

The governor denied allegations that Oduol had been denied access to his office and it was under the protection of police officers round the clock. “Oduol has got an executive office which cannot be equated to even my own or even this committee room that we are using today. I at one point even suggested to allocate him an alternative office since he operates in a hostile environment at the county headquarters but he declined,” said Orengo.

He said when Oduol was invited by the Senate to substantiate the allegations he had raised before the Siaya County Assembly, he declined to appear and the House went ahead to impeach him a decision that was dismissed by the Senate. Orengo told the committee that he appointed the deputy governor to be the chairperson of a cabinet subcommittee to scrutinise the pending bills with the Chief Finance officer reporting to him and it was ridiculous for him to claim that he had denied him any roles in his government.

The governor denied claims by Oduol that County Executive Committee Members were under instructions not to work with him saying he was the one who decided not to be attending cabinet meetings. “I am ready to provide evidence to this committee that the Siaya deputy governor has been receiving all allowances that he has been entitled to contrary to the allegations that he has not substantiated made here today,” said Orengo.

Oduol told the committee that after the botched impeachment, the governor used security and goons to physically eject him from office and locked the doors. He asked the Senate to direct the county government to have him attend County Executive Committee meetings and reinstate his car and security officers.

“After the unsuccessful impeachment the governor completely blocked me from any county activities, failed to delegate any duties to me. He completely refused to invite me to cabinet meetings as was the practice before and continues to withhold all the allowances and benefits including fuel for my official vehicle,” said Oduol.

The deputy governor asked the Senate to direct the county to provide fuel for his official vehicle and to reimburse money expended on fueling the vehicle while performing official duties.