Why Governor Nyong'o is facing jail

Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o

Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o. He is battling a contempt of court case.  

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The matter has been scheduled for highlighting submissions on March 6

Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o, his Deputy Mathew Owili, and city Manager Abala Wanga risk a six-month jail term or fine for disobeying court orders barring them from taking over control of the disputed Ofafa Memorial Hall.

Know their fate

The trio alongside Acting County Secretary Judith Oluoch will know their fate on March 6, when an application filed against them for contempt will be heard.

In a ruling delivered on January 29, 2024, by Justice Samson Okong’o, the court extended interim orders barring the four from any activities at Ofafa Memorial Hall until the application is heard and determined March 6.

In the case, three people Mr Calvin Ariko Lukio, Lawi Raburu Javan and Jane Akinyi Midialo, who are registered Trustees of the Luo Council of Elders, have sued the county government of Kisumu and the city Manager for contempt of court.

Wilful disobedience 

The claimants wanted Governor Nyong’o, his Deputy Dr Owili, Acting County Secretary Ms Oluoch and the City Manager Mr Abala Wanga to be held and found in contempt due to their willful disobedience of the orders issued on December 15, 2023.

On December 15, 2024, Environment and Land Court Judge Justice Esther Asati issued orders restraining the defendants from proceeding with activities which included the memorial ceremony of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga at the Ofafa Memorial Hall. 

Demolition exercise 

However, on December 19, 2023, in blatant disregard of orders issued by the court, the county government of Kisumu and the City Manager through their agents embarked on a demolition exercise of parts of the Ofafa Memorial Hall.

They destroyed and flattened some structures to the ground and publicly declared that the property is now under the county Government of Kisumu.

Highest form of mockery

The demolition and consequent eviction of tenants was regarded as the highest form of mockery and the disobedience of orders issued by the court and interference with the businesses of traders who have been occupying the disputed parcel of land.

According to the claimants in the case, this act of eviction has put them at risk of numerous third-party suits for breach of the tenancy agreement.

The county government also held the coronation of the Ker of the Luo council of elders Mzee Odungi Randa on December 22, 2023.

The county government and the city manager went on and hosted the memorial of the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga at Ofafa Memorial Hall on January 20, 2024 after carrying out renovations of the premises in utter disregard to court orders.

It is on this basis that the applicants filed for contempt.

“The defendant’s actions constitute disobedience of a valid court order whose terms were plain, obvious, unambiguous, and unequivocal and have never been varied or vacated,” said Duncan Okatch, Advocate of representing the petitioners in the case.

In their prayers, the claimants asked the courts to intervene to ensure its authority is protected and it is on this basis that they made the application.

The matter has been scheduled for highlighting submissions on March 6, 2024 and fixing a ruling date.