Governor Barasa Pleads With County Speaker To Ignore Letter Of ‘Impeachment’ From ODM Against Majority Leader

By Andanje Wakhungu

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party Kakamega county chairman Mr Fernandes Barasa has been warned against meddling in the party’s internal affairs. The warning came after a majority of MCAs impeached the Leader of Majority in the Assembly allegedly over poor leadership.

In a joint press briefing held last evening in Kakamega, the MCAs led by Robert Makhanu and Joel Okwako supported the picking of Mr Geoffrey Ondiro as the new Leader of the Majority in the Assembly replacing Philip Mina who they termed as a non-performer. The leaders warned Governor Barasa against attempts at reversing the new appointment by writing to the party secretariat in Nairobi. They told him that he was new in the political arena and had no knowledge of such matters.

Mr Okwako confirmed to the media last evening that they had received a letter endorsing Mr Geoffrey Ondiro as the new Leader of the Majority and accused the executive office of the county of interfering in their affair by trying to revoke the changes. “We are so upset by the executive for meddling in our oversight role, we want to tell Governor Barasa that we have communicated to the ODM secretariat, they have already acted on our demands, and that he should not try to stop the transition by interfering with the new changes.

We sat as leaders and decided that since our majority leader was not serving us well, we should make some changes and we invited the party national secretary general Mr Edwin Sifuna to Kakamega where we held a meeting and drafted our minutes of which he responded by endorsing Mr Ondiro as our new majority leader. The SG wrote to the county assembly clerk effecting the changes as we had requested and it is shocking to note that somebody somewhere in the name of Kakamega governor Fernandes Barasa has also written a letter to the secretary general challenging the new changes, who is he to challenge what the secretary general of the party has endorsed?

I want to remind Mr Barasa that he does not seem to understand party politics well, a decision by the secretary general of a party can only be overturned by the party leader or the national chairman of the party or national election board tribunal. He, Mr Barasa as the county party chairman has no powers to revoke a decision made by MCAs at all. I want to tell him that it is high time he gives the county assembly the independence it deserves. It cannot be all the time it is the governor walking with MCAs with no activities being implemented, we cannot have an assembly where the welfare of members is nonexistent with most of them languishing in poverty with no money to hold committees and benchmarking. The previous majority leader had been pocketed by the governor, that is why we have decided that it is Mr Ondira and that is how it will be” 

The Kongoni MCA Robert Makhanu echoed Mr Okwako’s sentiments saying they were streamlining the assembly operations and bringing it back to sanity from the grip of the executive. Sources say that even after Mr Sifuna visited the county and called for a meeting with affiliate Azimio parties some colleagues and even senior county officials went around convincing members not to attend, but for us who attended we came up with our resolutions to bring changes in the assembly after a one and half year of mismanagement. 

However, county ODM chairman Fernandes Barasa in a rejoinder said he had asked the speaker of the county assembly to ignore the directive until further notice. He condemned in the strongest term possible attempt to destabilize the Kakamega county house leadership as the communication to the speaker was not accompanied by any document such as minutes of the meeting in which the purported resolutions were made.