Kenya: Obado Ouster - What ODM Thought Was a Push Over

24 September 2020

If top officials at the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) thought it would be easy to impeach Migori Governor Okoth Obado because the party has an overwhelming majority in the assembly, recent events must be fast disabusing them of this notion.

Some 11 sittings later, the anticipated impeachment is yet to take off. And plans to table the motion yesterday were scuppered by chaos and violence that scuttled assembly sittings.

It is now emerging that the governor, who is fighting corruption charges, has marshalled a formidable force from among the 57 MCAs.

Stung by the resistance, ODM is scrambling back to the drawing board, effecting leadership changes within the assembly in a bid to push the contentious motion through. The main target is Speaker Boaz Okoth.

Stormed chamber

On Wednesday, MCAs allied to Mr Obado stormed the chamber to eject North Kanyamkago MCA George Omamba from the Speaker's seat. A female lawmaker broke her hand in the ensuing chaos.

Mr Omamba is overseeing assembly proceedings in the absence of Mr Okoth who is said to be ailing. According to a source, there is a general feeling that Mr Okoth may not cooperate when the motion is tabled.

Wednesday's events, which came hours after some of the MCAs had convened a Kamkunji on Tuesday evening, saw Majority Leader Ken Ouma Ngoro convene another informal meeting that ran late into the afternoon.

Sources said the meeting attended by all ODM ward reps was convened to pacify the warring factions and to brainstorm on the next course of action.

Hours later, the house reconvened for an evening sitting in which the MCAs endorsed Mr Omamba's reinstatement as the deputy Speaker. He then adjourned the house.

A section of the MCAs and the Assembly Public Service Board had rushed to the Employment and Labour Relations Court seeking to stop Mr Omamba's reinstatement.

Industrial Court Judge Justice Nduma Nderi granted the orders Wednesday evening, setting aside the initial ruling by the Chief Magistrate's Court.

Wednesday's session was running smoothly until five MCAs stormed the chamber, threw out Mr Omamba and carted away the Speaker's chair. A nominated MCA, Mrs Mary Ogodo, broke her hand during the scuffle and was rushed to St Joseph Ombo Mission Hospital. Another nominated ward rep, Mrs Grace Oyamo, was wrestled to the ground by God Jope MCA Leo Lot. The pro-Obado team was led by Kaler MCA Thomas Akungo.

Remove Speaker

The Nation has established that the MCAs are planning to invoke Chapter Six of the constitution to oust the Speaker. This includes reference to an ongoing investigation by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) on possible misappropriation of funds at the assembly.

Mr Okoth is said to have spent some hours at the EACC offices in Nairobi on Thursday and Friday last week.

Should the assembly succeed in ousting the Speaker, his deputy Mathews Chacha will preside over the impeachment because ODM views him as friendlier than his boss.

The new strategy came even as the ODM party confirmed having received crucial documents that they were seeking to facilitate the impeachment plan.

Last weekend, the ODM party team drafting the motion took a section of the MCAs to different venues in Kisii and Homa Bay counties where they were taken through the motion and the planned strategy to oust troubling leaders in the assembly.

During the sessions, phones were switched off.

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