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Obado: Trouble keeps following him and his associates

Obado might go down with the people closest to his heart - his four children

In Summary

• On Wednesday, Obado presented himself to EACC detectives alongside his four children with whom he is accused of embezzling Sh73.4 million from his Migori administration.  

• The EACC alleges his children - Achola Dan Okoth, Susan Scarlet Okoth, Jerry Zachary Okoth and Adhiambo Evelyn Okoth - are beneficiaries of graft. 

Migori Governor Okoth Obado/FILE
Migori Governor Okoth Obado/FILE

Are Migori Governor Okoth Obado and trouble bosom buddies?

Trouble seems to follow him everywhere, if his latest brush with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission is anything to go by. 

On Wednesday, Obado presented himself to EACC detectives alongside his four children with whom he is accused of embezzling Sh73.4 million from his Migori administration.  

The EACC alleges his children - Achola Dan Okoth, Susan Scarlet Okoth, Jerry Zachary Okoth and Adhiambo Evelyn Okoth -  are beneficiaries of graft. 

Also in trouble with the former high school teacher is his alleged proxy Jared Kwaga and his family, including his wife and mother.

This is just the latest in a long list of troubles that have dogged Obado's short political career of eight years. 

The staunch Seventh Day Adventist and elder is currently out on bond in the murder of Sharon Otieno, his lover who was pregnant with his son. Obado acknowledges the affair but denies involvement in her death.

Sharon was killed in September 2018, days after she told friends the governor was the father.

The 26-year-old woman, a former student at Rongo University in Migori county, was killed and her body dumped in Kodera Forest. Obado became a suspect after DNA tests showed the mutilated seven-month-old foetus was his son.

Obado was locked up at Industrial Area Prison together with his personal assistant Michael Oyamo and Migori county clerk Caspal Ojwang, who were jointly charged with Sharon's murder

The county chief was freed on bail after 33 days. The court ruled there was only circumstantial evidence linking him to the murders and insuffient reason to deny hi bail.

Oyamo and Ojwang were denied bail on grounds there was a strong case against them.

Soon after his release, Obado called an executive committee meeting and ordered his administration's officials to improve service delivery or get fired.

Evend facing the murder charges, the governor talked tough and insisted he wanted to leave a solid legacy.

Born in 1962 in North Kanyamkago ward, Obado quit as principal of Chung’e Secondary School in his Uriri constituency in 2007 to vie for MP.

He dropped out of the race after shambolic ODM primaries and supported former Uriri MP Cyprian Ojwang’ who won the ticket.

Then Obado entered sugar cane farmers’ union politics. He mobilised farmers and demanded South Nyanza Sugar Company pay farmers' dues and ensure their welfare. 

It was the training he needed for a bigger fight in the county. His eyes were trained higher than Uriri constituency, which he relinquished in 2007. 

In 2013, he unsuccessfully contested for the ODM ticket to run for Migori governor.

Obado ditched the party and vied on the little-known People’s Democratic Party (PDP) ticket instead. PDP is led by former Mugirango South MP Omingo Magara. 

Obado rode against a formidable ODM wave in Nyanza and won.

But his first term was characterised by graft allegations against him and his county administration.

There were allegations of irregular procurement of ambulances worth Sh230 million and embezzlement of public funds.

Some of his staff members ere charged with violating procurement rules to purchase Sh20 million for furniture for his residence.

In August 2016, a funeral service in Migori was disrupted by a clash between Obado's supporters and those of current Senator Ochilo Ayacko. Police fired in the air to quell the confrontation.

In April 2017, Obado was  slapped with a Sh2 million fine by the disciplinary committee of his ODM party, for violence that rocked the opening of a party office in Migori.

Goons reportedly allied to him violently disrupted a campaign rally led by Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho to drum up support for his then opponent Ochilo Ayacko.

In 2017 Obado won reelection against Ayacko in campaigns marred by violence, deaths and claims of voter intimidation which ended at the Kisumu Court of Appeal.

ODM leader Raila Odinga tried to make peace and encourage the two to shake hands in public. Obado refused.

He later refused to support Ayacko when he was handed the ODM senatorial ticket to replace Ben Oluoch, who died in June 2018.

Obado first chose to support former Rongo MP Dalmas Otieno, Ayacko's political nemesis, who dropped out to take up a post at the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.

He later propped up Federal Party of Kenya candidate Eddy Oketch. Though he was behind bars, Obado's supporters voted against Ayacko and ODM. But Ayacko won the October 2018 by-election. 

Then corruption claims emerged, involving Obado, his immediate family, associates and county staff. The EACC is probing a loss in excess of Sh2.5 billion. Investigators are looking into his three-storey palatial home, nicknamed Rapogi Mall.

In November 2018, Obado was arrested after eight guns were found during a raid on his homes in Migori and Nairobi by detectives from the EACC. 

(edited by o. owino)