Former Funyula MP Paul Otuoma has threatened to rethink his handshake with Busia governor Sospeter Ojaamong over “irregular transfer” of county employees.
At least 22 workers, most of whom were inherited from the defunct local government, have been redeployed from the county headquarters in Busia town to the subcounties.
Otuoma on Saturday claimed the transfers were targeting a specific community.
“We’ll not allow it. The predicaments of Ojaamong should not be the basis of redeployment of workers. The transfers look like an exercise aimed at punishing some individuals,” Otuoma said.
He was speaking in Elugulu village in Butula during the funeral of Joachim Onyango, the father of former Busia county assembly majority leader Josephat Wandera.
Otuoma’s remarks came even as a local lobby group criticised the transfers.
Busia Residence Association said 20 of the 22 workers redeployed were from one community.
Led by Ali Mohamed and Concepta Awino, the group asked Ojaamong to step aside and allow agencies investigation corruption allegations against him to expedite the probe.
“Ojaamong should step aside for proper investigation to take place. The ongoing transfer of workers from a specific tribe is aimed at interfering with witnesses and evidence,” Mohamed said.
Otuoma and Ojaamong were involved in a fierce contest for the Busia governorship in last year’s elections. The two battled for the ODM party ticket in the primaries before Otuoma opted to run as an independent after losing to the governor. Ojaamong would again beat Otuoma in the August elections conducted by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
A petitioner challenged the win in court but Otuoma later entered a truce with Ojaamong after the governor’s win was upheld.
The May 26 handshake happened at Mungatsi Primary School in Nambale during the burial of Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya’s mother-in-law. It was witnessed by ODM leader Raila Odinga.
Otuoma said leaders from the region support President Uhuru Kenyatta’s fight against corruption. He urged the President to ruthlessly deal with graft barons, saying corruption posed a serious threat to the implementation of the Big Four agenda.
“We support the government’s efforts to tame corruption which has denied Kenyans key services. Our people don’t have jobs, our children have no access to quality education while hospitals lack key medical equipment,” Otuoma said.