Okoth Obado: A profile of controversy


Migori Governor Okoth Obado. FILE PHOTO
Migori Governor Okoth Obado. FILE PHOTO

In Summary

  • His first term in office spelt out a tough battle, with graft allegations levelled against him and his county administration.
  • There were allegations of irregular procurement of ambulances worth Ksh.230million and some of his county staff were charged with flouting procurement rules in the purchase of furniture for his residence at a cost of Ksh.20million.
  • In April 2017, he was slapped with a Ksh.2million fine by the disciplinary committee of his party ODM, for violence that rocked the opening of a party office in Migori.

Zachary Okoth Obado is the first governor in Kenya to be charged with a capital offence.

The highly publicised murder case has gained momentum with Obado’s bail hearing set for Tuesday afternoon.

61 year-old Obado was until this incident a high-flying independent politician who had twice defied the wave in Luo-Nyanza to become governor.

Quiet and unassuming, Obado burst into the public limelight in 2013 as he rode against the formidable Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) in Nyanza.

He would then clinch the governor seat on a People’s Democratic Party ticket; at the time, the party was little-known.

Obado had just waded into the rough and tumble of politics from the quiet life of business and teaching.

But his first term in office would spell out a tough battle, with graft allegations levelled against him and his county administration.

There were allegations of irregular procurement of ambulances worth Ksh.230 million, embezzlement and some of his county staff were charged with flouting procurement rules in the purchase of furniture for his residence at a cost of Ksh.20million.

In April 2017, he was slapped with a Ksh.2 million fine by the disciplinary committee of his party ODM, for violence that rocked the opening of a party office in Migori.

Goons said to have been allied to him violently disrupted a campaign rally led by Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho to drum up support for his then opponent Ochilo Ayacko.

In August 2016, a funeral service in Migori County was disrupted following a clash between supporters of Governor Obado and those of former minister Ochilo Ayacko. Police had to shoot in the air to quell the confrontation.

But political observers describe him as a formidable mobiliser who has his way with the masses and even as this cloud of a murder charge hangs on his head, some residents staged demos in his support.

The murder case of Sharon Otieno could prove to be the toughest test yet in the controversy-ridden public life of Migori’s inaugural governor.

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Story By Jacque Maribe
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