MCAs allied to Migori Governor Okoth Obado on Wednesday kicked out the county assembly Majority Leader Edward Ngoro and Chief Whip Kevin Keke in a surprise sitting chaired by Speaker Boaz Okoth.
In what appears to be a test of the governor’s People's Democratic Party (PDP) clout at the assembly, Mr Okoth — a close ally of Mr Obado — chaired the Wednesday afternoon sitting where 27 out of the 41 MCAs voted to replace the two leaders in a surprise move.
West Sakwa MCA Nerstory Owiyo replaced Mr Ngoro as the new majority leader while East Kamagambo MCA Shadrack Nyawade took over from Mr Keke, the South Kamagambo MCA, as the assembly’s chief whip.
Immediately after the changes, Mr Ngoro and Mr Keke led a section of MCAs in rubbishing the decision to remove them, which they termed as attempts by the governor to impose his authority in the House and using his allies to “intimidate the House leadership”.
“We are aware of the schemes to undermine the party leadership through imposing PDP sympathisers. The governor’s cronies are out to cause divisions in the party by using intimidation. They have chosen to thrive on impunity by creating divisions in the party,” Mr Ngoro said.
Mr Ngoro maintained that there was no communication issued ahead of the impeachment and he only learnt about it through colleagues when he arrived at the assembly.
“The Speaker is running the assembly as his personal asset where dissenting voices are not given room. There must be prudent use of county resources and the discontent has been occasioned by those who are embezzling assembly funds,” he stated.
Mr Keke said the afternoon communication issued by the Speaker was hatched at a Migori hotel on Tuesday and they were not given time to be heard.
“The pronouncements were one-sided and it seemed the MCAs were prevailed on to achieve a common agenda since we were not given a chance to be heard,” Mr Keke said.
The MCAs said attempts to curtail ODM’s grip in the county will not be achieved despite the current onslaughts.
On Tuesday, Gokeharaka/Gitambwega MCA Joseph Bagendi was suspended indefinitely from the assembly after he rose on a point of order over some Sh80 million which could not be accounted for at the county government.
An MCA opposed to the changes told the Nation that the move was a scheme by Governor Obado’s allies to weaken authority in the assembly and silence dissenting opinions.
“This assembly has been thrown to the dogs. We are headed for tougher times ahead if we cannot be allowed to criticise and challenge key decisions relating to the use of public funds,” the MCA noted.
The changes happened amidst an onslaught by the county’s ODM leadership which is seeking to have Governor Obado expelled from the party after his alleged defection to PDP.
Mr Makabongo, in an interview with the Nation, said the county executive resolved to terminate Mr Obado’s membership in a meeting held on April 21 after he declined to honour summons to officially declare his stand on the said defection.
“We wrote a letter on April 13 summoning him to express himself on the defection to PDP but he never complied. This implied that he had deserted us and had nothing to do with our summons. As a result, we terminated his membership and forwarded copies to the party headquarters,” Mr Makabong’o said.
The branch chairman noted that a verification of the political parties’ register confirmed that Mr Obado was the PDP leader and had violated Article 4.5.1(c) of ODM’s Constitution that bars a member from affiliating with a different party.
“As the county coordinating committee, we have accomplished our mandate in accordance with the party’s constitution and we no longer consider him as our member,” he said.