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Okoth Obado faces hurdles in quest for ODM ticket

Migori Governor Okoth Obado to participate in ODM primaries. ODM disciplinary committee is set to make a ruling after investigations on his alleged link to violence.(Photo: Denish Ochieng’)

As Migori County conducts ODM nominations, all eyes will be on Governor Okoth Obado as he fights to overcome an onslaught against him.

Obado, who participated in the ODM primaries ahead of 2013 polls, defected to little-known People’s Democratic Party (PDP) following shambolic nominations and won the Migori seat.

The governor is facing former minister Ochillo Ayacko, Paul Odola and Nyatike MP Omondi Anyanga’s wife Anne Anyanga in today’s primaries.

In 2015, Obado began warming up to the ODM party, helping brand and furnish the Migori branch ODM office and providing resources to party activities within and outside his county.

Party bigwigs

However, his move appeared to have rattled some party bigwigs who consider him an outsider and vowed to block him.

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His journey to ODM has been met with legal and political hiccups as the besieged governor has become a familiar face in both the ODM disciplinary committee and also the political parties’ tribunal.

Last Thursday, the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal (PPDT) gave him a reprieve after it dismissed an application from an ODM member George Odede who had questioned the validity of his membership in ODM.

Odede, through lawyer Chrispin Odhiambo, argued that the governor violated the law by joining ODM without formally defecting from PDP. He also wanted the tribunal to declare that Obado was in office illegally, if indeed he had joined ODM.

However, a four-member tribunal made of Kyalo Mbobu, James Atama, Desma Nungo and Abdi Hassan dismissed the application on grounds that Odede had not exhausted the ODM internal disciplinary mechanisms first before moving to court.

“The preliminary objection by ODM is hereby sustained as the complainant ought to have invoked internal mechanisms before approaching this tribunal. This case is premature and therefore dismissed,” the tribunal stated.

And last Saturday, governor was summoned for a second time to appear before the Fred Athuok-led committee over last week’s violence that saw a meeting by ODM party officials at Rakwaro Catholic Mission centre violently disrupted.

He and Rongo MP Dalmas Otieno were among seven politicians who were questioned by the committee where the governor used the opportunity to defend himself.

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Obado told the team that he was in his Uriri rural home when the violence took place and exonerated his supporters from the incident and wondered why he had been summoned. The committee is set to make its ruling today.

Less than a fortnight ago, the same committee slapped Obado with a Sh2 million fine after finding him guilty of disrupting a rally that had been convened by Suna East MP Junet Mohamed to launch his re-election bid.

The committee had initially passed a judgment that could have seen the governor banned from the ODM and consequently barred from participating in the primaries.

However, party leader Raila Odinga is said to have asked the committee to give him a second chance leading to the decision to reduce the verdict from a ban to a fine.

Raila chaired a meeting of Central Management Committee (CMC) of the ODM at Orange House soon after the committee prepared its report, where the ruling and consequences of the judgment was deliberated.

Others who attended the CMC meeting are Secretary General Agnes Zani, deputy party leader Hassan Joho, Youth Leader John Ketora, women leader Beth Syengo, National Assembly Minority Deputy Leader Jakoyo Midiwo, ODM Treasurer Timothy Bosire, Organising Secretary Abdikadir Aden and Executive Director Oduor Ong’wen.

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