William Oduol’s fate now in senators’ hands as ouster papers filed

William Oduol

Impeached Siaya Deputy Governor William Oduol.

Photo credit: File I Nation Media Group

A showdown is looming at the Senate after a resolution of the impeachment of Siaya Deputy Governor William Oduol was filed on Saturday.

The battle is likely to take a political twist after Siaya Senator Oburu Oginga on Saturday sensationally claimed there were plans by senators from President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza Alliance to defend the embattled deputy governor.

Dr Oginga, while addressing a funeral in Bondo, Siaya County, where he was accompanied by Governor James Orengo, alleged that the majority side could save Mr Oduol but warned that the move could dim his political career.

“Let them just go ahead and exonerate him but he will not get any political seat here in future,” Dr Oginga, who is Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga’s elder brother, said.

“This is a classic case of giving a dog a bad name and hanging it. They want to brand him as a member of UDA (United Democratic Alliance) yet he is an ODM life member number 002638 according to our party register,” a senior ODM member told Nation.

Already, some UDA senators have warned that they will not allow the Senate to be used as a ground for settling political scores by Siaya leaders.

There are reports that some leaders in Siaya were using the impeachment against Mr Oduol to block him from a possible contest against Mr Orengo in the coming election. Local leaders in Siaya see Mr Oduol as a strong candidate should he chose to run.

Senate Speaker Amason Kingi has already been served with the notice of resolution by Siaya MCAs to remove Mr Oduol from office by way of impeachment on Thursday last week.

According to the law, Siaya County Assembly Speaker George Okode had two days to notify Mr Kingi of the resolution by the MCAs. The period lapsed on Saturday.

Section 33(2)(a) of the County Governments Act states that the Speaker of the county assembly shall inform the Speaker of the Senate of that resolution within two days.

Mr Kingi is now expected to formally communicate the receipt of the resolution tomorrow when the House reconvenes.

Mr Oduol is facing charges of gross violation of the constitution and other laws and abuse of office. He was accused of bulldozing officers to renovate the office of the deputy governor at a cost of Sh18 million and procurement of expensive seats, even though during the hearings, Siaya County Director of Procurement Martin Okwata said he had no role on the matter.

"It was an award through open tender after we received a request from the department. We placed the tender advertisement through the website and portal," Mr Okwata said.

Governance Chief Officer Jared Abayo also denied any allegations that he was coerced by the deputy governor in executing his duties. The matter now lies with the Senate for deliberation.

Mr Kingi’s communication will kick-start the formal process of impeachment hearing for the deputy governor, a process that must be concluded within 10 days.

During the sitting, a decision will be made whether the House will proceed with the trial. The Senate have two routes of trying Mr Oduol with one being the formation of an 11-member special committee or going the plenary way as provided for in the County Governments Act.

The Senate has 67 members but the law requires only 47 elected ones to vote. There could also be voting by delegation determined on the basis of where each senator is a registered voter.

Mr Oduol will need 24 votes to survive ouster, failure to which he will be the first deputy governor, in the history of devolution, to be removed from office by way of impeachment.