Activists sue Siaya Governor James Orengo for ‘sidelining’ his deputy
Siaya Governor James Orengo is on the spot for allegedly sidelining his deputy William Oduol in running affairs of the county government.
This is after three activists sued Governor Orengo over allegations of frustrating Oduol on service delivery activities.
The petition lodged in the High Court in Milimani by activists Peter Agoro, Erick Onyango and Elizabeth Akinyi, wants the court to find Orengo unfit to hold public office for violating the Constitution and the rights of his Deputy Governor Oduol.
The petitioners alleged that the governor has subjected Oduol to ridicule and humiliation for stripping him of privileges as the county deputy boss.
According to the trio, Oduol is unable to contribute or discuss matters concerning the county as he has been excluded from even attending cabinet meetings.
Further, it is alleged that Orengo has not only frustrated Odoul's service delivery activities but has unfairly blocked Oduol from receiving his allowances through the County Secretary's office.
As a result, Oduol has been compelled to use his resources to perform official duties by having to fuel his official county government vehicle.
"Without lawful reason or authority Orengo has deliberately continued to not only frustrate Oduol on service delivery activities, but he is also withholding benefits and allowances payable in his position as the Deputy Governor and consequently affect the output of the officer," the petitioners argue.
They argue that the actions by Orengo humiliate and lower the dignity and stature of the office he holds as a member of the forum of deputy governors and that such actions are tantamount to killing devolution in the country.
The petitioners further claim that the deputy governor has no official residence and has not been receiving the house allowance allocated for the holder of the office he holds.
"Oduol security detail was also withdrawn together with his chase car, at the instance of Orengo. This he says has left him exposed with no security," the court papers read.
According to court papers, Oduol's office has no water or electricity, a factor that has degraded him.
The deputy governor has also been denied periodical phone allowances and entertainment allowances too.
His staff have also been discriminated against as they do not receive their allowances like their counterparts in the governor's office.
“On account of his conduct, Orengo is unfit to hold office. His deliberate actions of sidelining Oduol while he remains his deputy violates the principle of good governance,” they say.
“He has been made a stranger and placed in total darkness in regard to the affairs of Siaya County.”
The petitioners' lawyer Edward Nyakeriga claims that the recent actions meted out to Oduol have humiliated him and lowered his dignity.
EACC invited to investigate Orengo
They now want to compel the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) to commence investigations into the activities of the county boss and officers under him and to institute criminal and civil proceedings against him.
They have also asked the court to issue an order compelling Orengo and the county government to reinstate all privileges and resources to enable Oduol to serve the people of Siaya.
The petitioners also want the court to order the Siaya County government to pay Oduol general damages for wrongful acts.
The file was placed before High Court Judge Hedwig Ong’undi of the Constitution and Human Rights division.
But she subsequently ordered the transfer the of file to the Siaya High Court noting that the complaint is against the governor and the Siaya County Government.
"Upon perusal of the pleadings herein, I have noted that the complaint is against the Governor of Siaya County and the Siaya County Government. There is a High Court in Siaya County which should hear the matter. I, therefore, transfer the file to Siaya High Court for hearing and determination. The file is to be placed before the Presiding Judge for further directions," Justice Ong'udi directed.
The petition comes at a time when Orengo and his deputy Oduol are at loggerheads.
Last week, Oduol claimed that on April 27, 2023, security officers and thugs prevented him from attending a cabinet meeting after he was officially invited by the county secretary.
He claims that his fight against alleged misappropriation of funds in the county government is the reason he has been subjected to such treatment.
The Siaya County Assembly had earlier summoned Oduol to appear before it to explain allegations of gross corruption in the executive.