Governor Orengo On EACC Radar Over Graft In Siaya

By The Weekly Vision Team

The verbal sparring between Siaya Governor Orengo and the Chief Executive Officer at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Twalib Mbarak, has led some to speculate that the government, through the EACC, plans to arrest and prosecute the governor for corruption. In his response, Governor Orengo released a powerful statement that was conveyed by his director of communications. It was delivered shortly after Mr. Mbarak mentioned that a prominent governor, who was also a legal practitioner, was under the commission’s scrutiny. 

In his response dated April 25, Governor Orengo criticised Mr Mbarak for his reckless, irresponsible, and baseless comments, which were meant to intimidate him. He dismissed Mr Mbarak’s comments as unremarkable, stating that he has represented clients in court before. He also said Mr Marak’s remarks were provocative. 

The governor had reportedly shared with his supporters plans to apprehend and charge him in court for corruption. If charged in court, the governor would continue discharging his duties as governor, although he would not be able to oversee the county’s operations from the governor’s official office. Allegations have been made before by the governor’s associates suggesting that there was a plot to block Mr Orengo from managing the county’s affairs from his office and to reinstate Deputy Governor William Oduol to lead the county in his absence. 

According to a High Court ruling in 2019, any governor charged with corruption should stay away from office and have their roles carried out by their deputies for the duration of the trial. This is what is irritating Governor Orengo and his allies. Regarding the validity of this statement, it is the narrative being advocated by Orengo’s allies against EACC. Orengo now asserts that EACC has never conducted any arrests in Siaya County but is presently issuing warnings of his potential arrest. 

As per the laws of Kenya, if a governor is arrested and presented in court, they are barred from accessing their office until the resolution of the case. Under these circumstances, Orengo acknowledges that he will be unable to effectively oversee the county’s operations, as he will have to establish a personal office to handle county matters, including leading cabinet meetings. 

The aforementioned scenario is expected to grant his DG a favourable position in reclaiming office and becoming significant again after having been impeached. Further, it should be remembered that a governor under impeachment cannot undertake certain responsibilities, which is why Orengo might be forced to eat humble pie and delegate his DG Oduol to handle certain functions for the county to run smoothly without technical hiccups.

Mubarak’s statement, which made Orengo and his team scamper, reads, “Yesterday, the noise was made by a governor; his county is on our red flag, so you can tell that lawyer-cum-governor we may end up in his place very soon,” Twalib Mbraka stated while referencing Siaya Governor James Orengo.