It was just a matter of time before embattled Migori governor Okoth Obado’s reached Waterloo given his long-strained relationship with Raila Odinga. Observers have held the view that Obado is a close ally of William Ruto. The
latest move appears aimed at clipping the governor’s wings ahead of the 2022 general election.
The High Court has already ordered Obado to stay out of office until graft charges facing him are heard and determined. Technically, his deputy Mwita Mahanga will assume his duties. What, however, complicates matters is the fact that Obado’s supporters have all along barred Mahanga from assuming duties after the High Court restrained Obado from going to office following the murder charges of Sharon Otieno. It is not clear whether Mahanga will be allowed to move into the office in the event that Obado is impeached and eventually thrown out of office. Two MPs in Migori namely Kitayama, Marwa (Kuria East), Mathias Robi-(Kuria West) were elected on Jubilee ticket hence lending credence to the fact that Ruto has support in the area. With Mahanga acting governor, the Kuria community will go back to ODM. The community has been fighting to have its own county.
Analysts say, with Mahanga in charge, the community will also hope he will be given ODM ticket 2022 to completely lock out Ruto. The other vote bloc of immigrants – Luhyas will back the Kurias to fight Luo dominance in county politics. Mahanga who is a Kuria has not been in good terms with Obado. Sources say ODM wants Obado to vacate office so that his deputy can assume full powers. That would in effect endear the Kuria community towards ODM ahead of the next general elections. Obado who is faced with graft charges blamed ODM for his predicament when he was charged with the brutal murder of a university student, Sharon. ODM has already ordered the immediate impeachment of Obado.
In a decision arrived at in Nairobi, Migori MCAs who are members of ODM and the party leadership agreed to remove the second-term governor whose tenure has been characterized by controversies. Out of the 41 invited MCAs, 37 attended the meeting. Migori has 40 wards and ODM has 41 MCAs — 27 elected and 15 nominated. The remaining 13 were elected on other parties among them Ford Kenya or as independents. If impeached and the senate sides with the MCAs, Obado will become the second governor to lose his seat over corruption allegations. Former Kiambu governor Ferdinand Waititu was impeached and replaced by his deputy James Nyoro under similar circumstances. Obado’s impeachment approval also comes at a time when the party is facing a backlash over its stand on how funds meant for curbing the spread of Covid-19 were spent.