HEADLINERS PROFILE

Governor Obado: Is this it for ex-teacher?

He was in September 2018 charged with murder, becoming the first governor to face a capital offence charge.

In Summary

• Obado burst into the public limelight in 2013, as he rode against ODM in Nyanza, which draws fanatical support in the region.

•  He won the seat on the little-known Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), garnering 132,687 votes against ODM’s Edward Oyugi who got 115, 270 votes.

Migori governor Okoth Obado
Migori governor Okoth Obado

Migori Governor Zachary Okoth Obado and his four children are spending this weekend in police cells awaiting bail ruling on Monday.

Obado presented himself to the Kisii EACC offices on Wednesday, a day after DPP Noordin Haji ordered his arrest – and his children's – for allegedly stealing public money. The amount in question is Sh73.4 million.

This is not Obado's first brush with the law.  

The staunch Seventh-day Adventist and church elder was in September 2018 charged with murder, becoming the first governor to face a capital offence charge.

Obado was charged with the murder of eight-month pregnant university student Sharon Otieno. DNA tests confirmed he was the baby's father. 

Sharon, 26, was killed and dumped in Kodera Forest, Homa Bay county; the murder caused a sensation.

Obado denied the charges but spent a month in remand before he secured a Sh5 million bond.

The 63-year-old burst into the limelight in 2013, when he went up against ODM in Nyanza where the party draws fanatical support.

He won the seat on the little-known People's Democratic Party (PDP) ticket, garnering 132,687 votes against ODM’s Edward Oyugi who got 115,270 votes.

His first term was not a smooth sailing, with claims of irregular procurement of ambulances worth Sh230 million and household furniture that cost Sh20 million. He was among the governors implicated by the Senate over graft.

 

Obado, however, told the Standard that he is not corrupt, terming the claims “baseless propaganda peddled by my rivals and blown out of proportion by the media”.

“Before I was elected governor, I was running successful businesses, besides having invested in property. People should not think that whatever I have is as result of my position as governor,” he said.

Ahead of the 2017 general election, Obado decamped to ODM and beat his bitter rival Ochilo Ayacko in the nominations, garnering 110,142 votes. Ayacko claimed the primaries were not fair, citing rigging, intimidation and violence

Earlier that month – April – Obado had appeared before ODM’s disciplinary committee after being linked to chaos that erupted during deputy party leader Hassan Joho’s visit to the county. Joho's bodyguard was shot and injured. Obado was fined Sh2 million.

Obado was born in Kanyamkago, Migori. He studied at St Joseph’s Rapogi Secondary School in Uriri and later joined Kenyatta University to study Education.

Upon graduation he pursued a career as a teacher, rising to the level of principal. He resigned as Chung’e Secondary School principal ahead of the 2007 general election to join politics.

After failing at the primaries, he went into business and got involved in sugar politics in the region. Obado was appointed Kenya Sugar Board chairman in November 2010, a position he held until 2016.

He is married to Hellen Okoth and has four children—Dan Achola, Susan Scarlet, Jerry Zachary and Evelyn Okoth.

If convicted his final term in office will end prematurely. As matters stand, his deputy, Nelson Mahanga, is likely to take over if and when he is barred from accessing his office.