In a striking turn of events, the feud between Siaya Governor James Orengo and his deputy William Oduol has intensified, sparking a legal battle that will now be held in the Siaya High Court. The case was initially presented before a Milimani High Court judge in Nairobi, but Justice Hedwig Ong’undi, upon reviewing the dispute, decided to transfer the case to the local Siaya court.
The petition against Governor Orengo was brought forward by three local activists – Peter Agoro, Erick Onyango, and Elizabeth Akinyi. They accuse the governor of intentionally sidelining Deputy Governor Oduol in county affairs, thereby violating the constitution and the deputy’s rights.
The tension between the two leaders has been evident for some time. Last week, Oduol alleged that he was barred from attending a cabinet meeting by security personnel, despite receiving an official invitation. He attributes this treatment to his ongoing fight against the suspected misappropriation of county funds.
In their petition, the activists charge that Governor Orengo has subjected Deputy Governor Oduol to undue ridicule and humiliation, systematically stripping him of his deputy county boss privileges. Allegedly, Oduol has been prevented from participating in cabinet discussions and has been denied his allowances. Consequently, he has been forced to cover official duties expenses, such as fueling his county government vehicle, out of his own pocket.
The petitioners argue that such actions not only degrade the dignity and stature of the deputy governor’s office but also undermine the very concept of devolution. Among other grievances, they claim that Oduol has been left without an official residence or housing allowance, and his office has been deprived of basic amenities such as water and electricity.
The petitioners’ legal counsel, Edward Nyakeriga, insists that Governor Orengo’s actions have significantly humiliated his deputy and diminished his dignity. They now urge the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to probe into the governor’s conduct and the operations of his subordinates, and to potentially instigate criminal and civil proceedings.
Further, the petitioners request the court to mandate the reinstatement of all privileges and resources for Deputy Governor Oduol, so he can effectively serve the people of Siaya. They also seek general damages for wrongful acts perpetrated by the county government.
This high-stakes case holds significant implications for governance in Siaya County, and its resolution is eagerly anticipated by the county’s residents and beyond.