Kenya: Obado Ouster Not Easy As ODM Hunts for Vital Documents

19 September 2020

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has not initiated the impeachment of Migori Governor Okoth Obado because it lacks vital documents, the Saturday Nation has learnt.

Lawyers mandated to draft the impeachment motion cannot do so because the courts, the Anti-Corruption Commission and other State agencies have yet to make available supporting files.

For eight sittings, the Migori County Assembly has not transacted the impeachment agenda, which was the reason ward representatives reconvened from a month long recess last week.

The representatives have been reporting to the chamber with no legislative business to transact. There was no quorum when the representatives met on Wednesday morning and afternoon, leading to adjournments.

Mr William Oketch, the lawyer for the orange party and the Migori ward representatives, told the Saturday Nation that his team has been facing hurdles in attempting to get certified copies of the charge sheets and bail ruling in the Sharon Otieno murder and the corruption cases. Mr Obado is accused of killing his girlfriend Sharon and her unborn baby.

Drafting the motion

"These files can be issued in a day. Failure to get them is delaying the drafting of the motion. We made a request to the government agencies and are still waiting for responses," Mr Oketch said.

The ward representatives and ODM wrote to the Anti-Corruption Court administrator on September 15 seeking copies of the charge sheets and bail and bond rulings.

The lawyer on the same day, sent a request to the High Court deputy registrar to be furnished with certified copies of the charge sheets as well as bail and bond ruling in the murder case.

Mr Oketch said it should only take a maximum of three hours to get the documents.

He added that his team put two email requests to the criminal and anti-corruption divisions of the High Court.

The first has not been responded to while the second received replies after 36 hours.

"The court is in receipt of your application. The same will be placed before the presiding magistrate for consideration. We will get back to you as soon as directions are issued," the letter from the court said.

Mr Oketch said the court is subjecting his request to "unnecessary layers of approvals".

Worse still, the lawyers are also having a problem getting information and documents from the party.

He also wrote to ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna seeking certified copies of charge sheet and ruling by the ODM Disciplinary Tribunal against Governor Obado. The county boss had been referred to the tribunal for poll- related offences in 2017.

The delays are buying time for the governor as the vigour for his removal keeps falling. From the planned Tuesday last week D-Day till Thursday this week, the assembly is still waiting for the draft of the impeachment motion.

Request assessed

The ward representatives are also split between supporting the governor and the party, with a number reporting threats to their lives. Some are torn between securing their political future and losing business with the county government.

For ODM, Mr Obado's impeachment is a do-or-die affair. It has turned into a battle for the control of South Nyanza between ODM leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto, who enjoys good relations with Mr Obado.

In a directive that saw ward representatives pledge their loyalty to the party and its leadership on Saturday, ODM chairman John Mbadi referred to South Africa's ruling ANC and how it threw out the country's president Jacob Zuma.

County Assembly Speaker Boaz Okoth has been criticised for perceived double standards. Mr Obado says the decision to impeach him is a choreographed narrative by a few party members and not a decision of the ODM leadership.

Mr Oketch said the High Court has assessed his request and asked for a fee to be based on the pages of the documents being sought.

The party plans to prepare compressive evidence required in the impeachment motion and present a watertight case for tabling at the assembly.

After that the Motion is forwarded by the clerk to the speaker of the assembly for approval and then brought before the Assembly.

The mover then issues notice of the motion calling for the impeachment of the governor to the assembly.

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