What you need to know:
- Senators voted to save DG Oduol, thus dealing a blow to his boss, Siaya Governor James Orengo.
Party politics, allegations of bribery and last-minute phone calls saved Siaya Deputy Governor William Oduol from becoming the first deputy governor to be removed from office.
With the 11-member Senate special committee’s report recommending the impeachment of Mr Oduol, political antagonism between the ruling Kenya Kwanza Alliance and Azimio la Umoja One Kenya played a major role in the outcome.
Multiple sources who spoke to the Nation narrated how calls from the top leadership of Kenya Kwanza saw Mr Oduol saved. Despite the ruling alliance having majority representation in the special committee that was led by Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator William Kisang—six against five —it proposed to impeach Mr Oduol.
The committee found that Mr Oduol had attempted to interfere with the procurement process by instructing the director of supply chain management to change tender categorisation for the procurement of the supply of certified seeds and fertiliser.
He was also on the spot for misleading the public by giving false information regarding the resignation of County Secretary Joseph Ogutu as well as the reallocation of funds meant for the completion of Siaya Stadium.
A Kenya Kwanza senator told the Nation that they have firm instructions to save the deputy governor in light of the differences between the ruling alliance and the opposition.
“I can tell you without fear of contradiction that Mr Oduol will remain as the deputy governor of Siaya. That is the position Kenya Kwanza has taken,” said the senator. Another source, an Azimio senator, said their counterparts from Kenya Kwanza had confided in them of threats and intimidation to shoot down the report.
“Our counterparts have told us how they have been harassed through the phone by a leader of the House for adopting the report calling for removal from office of Mr Oduol. If they save him, then it will have been procured through threats and the deputy governor is being saved because of politics and not on any substance,” he said.
When it came to voting, 27 senators voted against both the first and second charges against 16.
“The net effect of these votes is that the Senate has failed to remove from office by impeachment William Oduol and that he accordingly continue to hold office,” announced Senate Speaker Amason Kingi.
Earlier in the afternoon, the debate on the report took party lines, with appeals from Azimio for senators to vote with their conscience falling on deaf ears.
Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei opposed the report, saying the Senate will not serve as a ground for sanitising or processing political disputes.
However, Siaya Senator Oburu Oginga said: “There isn’t any bigger offence than violating the constitution and this has been proven by the committee. If you don’t go by the recommendation of this report, I don’t know how you expect the governor to work with the same deputy who has besmirched his name.”
The Senate has 47 elected senators, 31 of whom are allied to Kenya Kwanza and 15 to Azimio.