Siaya Deputy Governor William Oduol to appear before impeachment team today

Siaya Governor James Orengo (left) and his deputy William Oduol (right) at a past function. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group.

Deputy Governor William Oduol, witnesses and county residents are today expected to appear before a special committee of the assembly formed to investigate allegations made against the county's Number Two.

According to a notice by the county assembly clerk, the committee will accord the deputy governor an opportunity to be heard on the allegations levelled against him in the quest to impeach him.

Multiple interviews with insiders in the county executive have revealed that 2027 elections politics, supremacy wars, unfulfilled agreements, and tender fights are the major causes of conflict between Mr Oduol and Governor James Orengo.

A senior county official yesterday said: “Having contested in 2013 and given former Governor Cornel Rasanga a run for his money, there is a feeling that Oduol has gathered the courage to face off with his boss in the coming election.”

“Supremacy battles in Siaya where other local leaders also feel they should inherit the seat in 2032 is also a factor for the wars in Siaya as they want to ensure Oduol is out of the picture come 2027,” said the official.

Bad advisers

But Gem MP Elisha Odhiambo said fighting for resources and “bad advisers” on Mr Orengo’s side were fuelling the conflict.

“The governor has mobilised bad advisers around him who are only keen on the fights to benefit themselves at the expense of service delivery in Siaya,” Mr Odhiambo said yesterday.

Mr Oduol’s supporters believe he is being persecuted and branded a UDA sympathiser to whip up political emotions and erode his influence ahead of the 2027 poll.

The law—apart from stipulating that deputy governors are the principal assistants to their bosses—does not say what they should do or the decisions they can make while in office. It is thought that governors have taken advantage of this gap to sidestep their deputies, whom they see as competitors rather than partners.

Machakos Deputy Governor Francis Mwangangi said that nearly 95 per cent of deputy governors have issues with their bosses, with part of the problem being pre-election pacts that have since been trashed.

“In law, these pacts are neither here nor there but honesty in leadership is very key,” he said.

He challenged eminent persons from Siaya County including business people as well as church leaders to come out and foster unity among local leaders in Siaya for the sake of service delivery to the people.

“The eminent persons should pronounce themselves on the matter and avoid sitting back and the ODM party should also be able to manage the situation because somebody might ask that if you are unable to run one county then how can you run the country?”

Nation. Africa has also established that an unfulfilled promise to give the finance docket to Mr Oduol has also fuelled the conflict. The deputy governor is said to have struck the deal with Mr Orengo in the run-up to the elections.

Unlike his Homa Bay counterpart Gladys Wanga who honoured her promise and named her deputy Oyugi Magwanga as Agriculture CEC, Mr Orengo did not allocate Mr Oduol any CEC role.

Renovating his office

Among the accusations that Mr Oduol faces is renovating his office at a cost of Sh18 million, a claim he has denied saying that he has no such powers.

The deputy governor believes the corruption allegations he has raised against the Orengo administration are the true reason behind plans to impeach him. Yesterday, he said he was ready to appear before the assembly committee to defend himself.

Competing interests among MCAs where some feel that Mr Oduol had taken up their oversight role by questioning the ills in Mr Orengo’s administration have also been mentioned as the cause of the conflict in Siaya and reason for the impeachment plan.

Mr Oduol believes the corruption allegations he has raised have been the reason for his impeachment plan

On the allegations of corruption put forward by Mr Oduol, County Chief of Staff Cyrus Oguna said they were malicious and ill-intended.

“There have been allegations directed against the County Government of Siaya regarding financial mismanagement. The allegations carried in the media have been largely attributed to an individual. These allegations are malicious and ill-intended,” he said.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) have been conducting investigations into corruption in the county. According to Mr Oguna, delays in releasing the findings of the probe and acting against the culprits have created room for misunderstanding and speculation by some officials.

“The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has been conducting investigations in relation to the alleged embezzlement and, or misappropriation of approximately Sh600 million by officers of the county government. The investigations commenced before the current administration assumed office and are yet to be concluded,” said Mr Oguna.

He added: “The silence by the commission has created room for speculation and discussion on the ongoing investigations, an issue which would otherwise have been avoided had the process been concluded in good time. This is in view of the fact that the discussions in the media touching on the alleged financial misappropriation in the county government are matters that the commission ceased of long before the current administration took office.”

Mr Oguna lamented that even after the audit reports revealed glaring theft of public funds, EACC and DCI are yet to act.

“More than eight months since the current administration took over the leadership of the county, there has not been any major step taken by the commission towards conclusion and/or prosecution of anyone suspected to have been involved in the misappropriation of public money despite calls by the county government leadership for them to speed up and conclude the investigations,” said Mr Oguna.

Mr Orengo has previously called on the EACC and DCI to expedite the corruption investigations.