George Odiwuor and PD Reporter @PeopleDailyKe
Migori Governor Okoth Obado yesterday reported back to work five days after being released from remand prison.
Obado, who is charged with the murder of Sharon Otieno, spent more than a month in remand before he was released on a Sh5 million cash bail and other tough conditions last Thursday.
The governor, arrived at his office at 8am yesterday and met county staff and a few members of the public at the county headquarters before proceeding for a meeting.
The county headquarters was a hive of activity, with different delegations arriving to pay homage to the governor.
Even though he did not address journalists who had camped outside his offices, the County Director of Communication Nicholas Anyuor said Obado has resumed his usual duties.
“The governor has just held a normal Cabinet meeting to discuss development and service delivery issues,” said Anyuor.
He said all activities had been going on uninterrupted despite the governor’s absence, adding that the much activity witnessed on Monday was because of a big number of residents who wanted to see the governor.
“There are those who want to pray with himand others want to know about his condition, but that has not disrupted services,” he said.
The governor, who was charged with the murder of former Rongo University student Sharon and her unborn baby, had been held at Industrial Area Remand Prison in Nairobi.
After his release, the governor travelled back to Migori on Saturday where he attended a church service. He wore a brave face as he thanked county staff. He avoided deliberating on the matter facing him in court and instead asked his staff to focus on delivering service to the people.
“I am very happy to meet you today, I urge you to be very courageous and diligent in your work as always,” Obado told his staff. He asked residents to remain peaceful and united and focus on county’s development.
Meanwhile, a huge difference has been witnessed in Rapogi market and its environs, for the last one month. Rapogi, a busy hamlet on the Awendo-Ndhiwa road, known by its signature institution—Rapogi High School —and neighbours Obado’s palatial home, has been ominously quiet, with muted discussions on the chilling murder for which Governor Obado has been charged.
The hitherto vibrant market is now a ghost town, a pale shadow of its former self. The sirens and motorcade that announced the arrival of the big man are no more. The frequent visits by VIPs, who sought favours from the governor have reduced significantly.
Idlers, who ran errands in exchange for a few shillings which are billegerently dawned inside local pubs and dens, are the saddest lot, wondering aloud when the twists and turns in this saga will end so that life can return to “normal”.
Since arriving in Migori on Saturday, strict bail terms have forced him to remain in Migori town, at the seat of the county headquarters. His arrival elicited mixed reactions, with the majority being ambivalent, while a few making remarks that bordered on sarcasm.
Most residents ignorant of legal implications are reading politics in the whole saga, believing Obado is a victim of a vicious political game that is a result of his fierce independence and belligerence.
The student was murdered in the middle of a fierce political contest between Obado and former minister Ochillo Ayacko, who was handed a direct nomination by ODM in the senatorial mini poll after the death of Ben Okello.
Obado protested the move, which observers saw as continuation of their rivalry after a fierce contest with Ayacko for the governor’s race last year. Obado supported a political greenhorn, Eddy Okech.
“He is paying the price of taking on Baba (former premier Raila Odinga) after the Handshake. He thought he was in the same league of political power and influence to go against the popular party,” said another resident.
But to his fans at Kanyamkago, reality is already sinking, with many preparing for a life without Obado’s influence and largesse.
Even those who thought with the governor out on bail things would change , especially after he resumed his duties at the county headquarters, now see an unpredictable future.
Life in Migori is not the same. With impeachment plans muted, which local leaders think is a long shot, given Obado’s sway in the County Assembly even during the one-month absence, his strategists will burn midnight oil to strategise for the future.