As political temperatures continue to rise, power games in South Nyanza are about to get uglier with the expected impeachment of Migori Governor Okoth Obado.
Although ‘all politics is local’, the outcome of the vote at the county assembly tomorrow is likely to affect events at the national level. The stakes are just too high for regional king ODM leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto, who has been eating into his rival’s base in Migori and Kisii.
Migori has been a tricky county for ODM, having lost in the 2013 gubernatorial race to Mr Obado, who was in the People’s Democratic Party. In the 2017 elections, the ODM favourite candidate Ochillo Ayacko failed to secure the party ticket.
It is no secret that Mr Obado is a close ally of Dr Ruto, having openly come out to seek his constituents’ nod to work with him for the ‘sake of development’. His association with the DP dates back to his days at the helm of Kenya Sugar Board when Dr Ruto was the Agriculture minister.
Mr Obado told off those trying to control him and dismissed a section of ODM officials “who continuously doubt his loyalty to the party”. “People want to think for me and decide who I am, and what I should do. The freedom of association is in the Constitution and nobody can take that away from me,” said the governor.
Mr Obado asked ODM members to stop branding him a traitor and master of corruption. “These people should stop calling me names, and thinking for me. Some behave like God and feel as if they have already known what will happen in 2022,” he said, adding that there is “a much bigger reason” behind his planned ouster.
“Why are they (party officials) in a rush to hound me out of office yet my cases have not been heard and determined? This is political witch-hunt being spearheaded by my opponent, who lost in the previous election.”
The 57 ward reps will have a huge say on the bearing of South Nyanza politics, especially if the unthinkable happens and Mr Obado survives.
A majority enjoy a cordial relationship with Mr Obado and are torn between the party and the governor. They are facing threats from both sides as well as fear of being side-lined in 2022 when they seek re-election on an ODM ticket. Some face the possibility of losing business with the county government.