Raila’s hidden hand in Siaya deputy governor William Oduol ouster bid

Mr James Orengo and Mr William Oduol

Mr James Orengo (right) and Mr William Oduol (left), then joint candidates for the Siaya gubernatorial seat, campaign in Siaya Town on June 22, 2023.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Phone calls from Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party honchos and an array of secret meetings in Nairobi and Siaya ahead of a county assembly special sitting seem to have sealed Siaya Deputy Governor William Oduol’s fate, leading to his planned ouster.

ODM leader Raila Odinga is said to have expressed his displeasure with the bad press his home county has been receiving following the fallout between Mr Oduol and Governor James Orengo. 

The corruption allegations made the situation worse, prompting Mr Odinga’s silent but firm intervention. 

The plan was set in motion on Friday last week at a meeting between Mr Orengo and Mr Odinga who had visited the county liaison offices in Nairobi.

Among other issues, the Oduol-Orengo duel featured prominently with a proposal that Mr Odinga meets with MCAs, but this was shelved. Another meeting with leaders from Siaya sealed Mr Oduol’s fate.

“We have only one leader, who is Raila Odinga, and we respect and obey everything he tells us. I promise that the assembly will do as required and defend the devolution that you fought hard to bring,” said Assembly Speaker George Okode.

Mr Odinga's visit to Siaya after the assembly had dismissed the corruption allegations raised by Mr Oduol and a notice of motion filed to impeach him, also spoke volumes.

Mr Odinga went to Muhondo grounds in Alego Usonga, where he visited flood victims and distributed relief food. He was accompanied by Mr Orengo, Busia Governor Paul Otuoma, National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi and Budalang’i MP Raphael Wanjala. 

“You know when your neighbour’s house is on fire, you help extinguish it and that is why I have offered to sit the two down and talk but everyone should stick to his lane, role and know their place," said Mr Otuoma.

Mr Orengo said he wouldn’t be cowed: "I have fought bigger battles in life including the ones that brought down some powerful political figures. This is a game I know too well, but I am focusing on developing Siaya."

Mr Wandayi warned Mr Oduol telling him to toe the line or quit.

Special sitting

On Monday, the county assembly plans to hold another special sitting during which East Asembo MCA Mr Gordon Onguru will move the impeachment motion officially. So important is the motion that MCAs have been forced to cut short their recess to dispense with it.

The ward reps were to go to Mombasa for a working tour tomorrow, but this was put on hold to enable them to discuss the impeachment motion.

Mr Wandayi accused President William Ruto of interfering with ODM counties. He was speaking in Nyadorera where Mr Odinga was distributing relief food to flood victims.

"President Ruto and his friends are busy meddling in the affairs of counties that are led by the ODM governors in order to create confusion. We have seen them trying to create confusion in Coast region, Turkana and here in Nyanza, ” said Mr Wandayi.

The lawmaker attributed the friction between Mr Orengo and Mr Oduol, to interference by the Kenya Kwanza administration.

“I want to thank the people of Siaya for being steadfast. We have seen the Kenya Kwanza agents moving around with freebies in the form of food in order to sway them, however, they have not succeeded,” said Mr Wandayi.

He said efforts by Dr Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance to recruit Siaya residents to the party would not bear fruit.

“We only have one political party that we recognize in this region and that is the ODM party. We know there are some leaders who have been visiting Siaya and other regions in Nyanza under the guise of distributing relief food yet they are secretly registering people to join UDA, ” he claimed.