What you need to know:
- Mr Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta have been pushing for the realisation of constitutional amendments through the BBI but the governor says the public’s lives will not improve in any way.
Migori Governor Okoth Obado has renewed his attacks on ODM leader Raila Odinga, vowing to have a new political formation for Nyanza while at the same time rubbishing the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
Mr Obado, who spoke during a house-warming ceremony for his Director of Administration, Mr Dominic Akugo, in Uriri Central Ward on Sunday, said he was glad the much publicised “reggae” had stopped.
Mr Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta have been pushing for constitutional amendments through the BBI, with the popular slogan from the song ‘Nobody Can Stop Reggae’ by South African singer Lucky Dube.
Mr Obado, however, rubbished the initiative, maintaining that it will not in any way change the lives of Kenyans.
“We are facing difficulties in this country and we are in the middle of a pandemic. We are facing increased prices of basic commodities and life has become so unbearable. Therefore, claims that BBI will improve our lives is a very big lie. Life cannot be easy with BBI. We are glad that God has stopped the reggae,” Mr Obado said in an 18-minute audio clip obtained by the Nation.
The second-term governor claimed county assemblies and leaders were intimidated and blackmailed to ensure the passage of the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2020.
“We were really intimidated that if assemblies don’t pass the Bill some people would even be arrested. Some were threatened with legal action and so MCAs just decided to pass it,” he said.
Mr Obado, who is facing charges in court over corruption and murder, revealed how leaders were in danger if they dared ask simple questions about the initiative.
“Now God has helped us to prove it was bad and if it comes here for a vote, deal with it properly,” the governor said in apparent reference to a possible referendum vote on the changes.
In reference to the proponents of the initiative, the governor said; “to our brothers and sisters holding higher positions of authority plus the power, when people speak, don’t coerce people, don’t intimidate them, don’t blackmail them.”
“It is unfair for those who are willing to express their freedom of speech to be intimidated, blackmailed and coerced into submission. That is not democracy,” added Mr Obado, as he recalled how he survived an attempt by ODM to have him impeached.
He also disclosed his plans to ensure a new political formation is birthed in the region to rival Mr Odinga’s ODM party.
Mr Obado hinted that the Omingo Magara-led Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) on whose ticket he was elected as the governor in 2013, would be his party next year.
“If those people were saying BBI will bring people together, we also say PDP will bring us together and empower our people,” he declared.
He said there must be space for democracy at all levels.
Referring to the formation of the One Kenya Alliance by party leaders Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Gideon Moi (Kanu) and Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya), Mr Obado said it was not reflective of the diverse Kenyan communities and had edged out Mr Odinga hence “the need for us to have a new political vehicle that will cater for our interests.”
“They have betrayed Agwambo (Mr Odinga) after all this time and now made an about-turn, bringing some four individuals under One Kenya Alliance.”
“How is it a One Kenya Alliance when it excludes other Kenyans, including our community?” he asked.
“…so that’s their own. If God allows, we shall also have our own vehicle. I implore you to help me build it. You voted for me through PDP – Peoples’ Democratic Party -- whose slogan is Mamlaka kwa Mwananchi (Power belongs to the people) and I want us to focus on it,” the governor said.
He pointed out that the community should not support a situation where “some people want to tell us about One Kenya Alliance yet our people are excluded.”
“An alliance bringing together Kalonzo, Gideon Moi, Mudavadi and his brother Wetang’ula from one region – Western yet other regions are not even represented. We can’t allow that.”
Mr Obado said that since Mr Odinga had been excluded from the new formation and kept in the periphery “we are now preparing our own.”
Former Uriri Parliamentary aspirant Benard Omondi Gwonyo said Mr Obado’s statement had confirmed “our fears in ODM that he does not subscribe to the party agenda.”
“This is the highest level of dishonesty and it's now very clear that Obado has never been in ODM despite having benefited immensely from the party and our party leader.”
“Since he has done his 10 years as the governor, let him allow the people of Migori to decide their political destiny without undue influence from him. Our faith and loyalty as the people of Migori still lies in Raila Amollo Odinga and the announcement by Governor Obado is inconsequential,” said Mr Omondi.
Mr Obado insisted that there is no way the national government will be able to disburse the 35 per cent allocation of cash to counties as proposed by BBI “if it cannot give a meagre 15 per cent.”
“If we are serious of ensuring the BBI is passed and implemented, then we should have also started making adequate budgetary provisions to ensure that Parliament is expanded to accommodate the high number of MPs expected,” he said.
He added that the country’s debt obligation is too high to support implementation and full realisation of BBI.
“If our debt obligation is approaching around Sh 1 trillion, will we run the government on debts? That’s impossible,” he said.
He also said that no leader should attack another on the basis of corruption, insisting that “nobody is clean.”