In a significant escalation of political tensions in Kenya, three concerned citizens – Peter Odhiambo, Erick Onyango, and Elizabeth Akinyi – have submitted an urgent petition to the High Court. They seek a ruling to declare Siaya Governor James Orengo unfit to serve in public office, citing allegations of constitutional infringements and violations of Deputy Governor William Oduol’s rights.
The petitioners contend that the current state of affairs in Siaya County represents a gross violation of the country’s 2010 Constitution. Furthermore, they have requested the court to reinstate Mr. Oduol’s privileges, allowances, and his ability to perform his constitutional duties. They also seek an official residence or housing allowance for him, consistent with constitutional provisions.
In this pivotal litigation, Governor Orengo and the Siaya County Government are named as first and second respondents. Meanwhile, Deputy Governor Oduol and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) are listed as interested parties.
The petition further calls for the Siaya County government to compensate Deputy Governor Oduol for damages caused by alleged wrongful acts. They claim that Mr. Oduol’s office has been stripped of essential utilities like water and electricity, greatly degrading his working conditions.
The petitioners’ lawyer, Edward Nyakeriga, speaking with the Nation, expressed concern over the alleged humiliation and degradation of Mr. Oduol’s dignity, highlighting the deputy governor’s lack of security and official transportation.
The petition also urges the court to instruct the EACC to initiate investigations into Governor Orengo and his subordinate officers’ activities, and consider the commencement of criminal and civil proceedings.
The legal challenge occurs amidst a backdrop of political discord between Governor Orengo and Deputy Governor Oduol. Last week, Mr. Oduol reported that security officials and unidentified individuals obstructed him from attending a cabinet meeting, even though he had received an official invitation.
Mr. Oduol asserts that his resistance against suspected misappropriation of county funds is the root cause of his alleged mistreatment. He had previously appeared before the Siaya County Assembly to present evidence of purported corruption within the executive branch of government.
As the political climate intensifies, elders from Alego Usonga clan, where Mr. Oduol holds influence, have issued a stern ultimatum to Governor Orengo, demanding inclusive governance or facing potential mass action against him.
This case marks an important chapter in Siaya’s political landscape, especially as the ODM party had previously named Mr. Oduol, a skilled political mobilizer and former CEO of Westcon-Comstor Africa, as the preferred candidate for the Orengo governorship in the upcoming August 9 elections.