Monda impeachment leaves MP Osoro walking tightrope in Kisii politics

The loss has exposed his dwindling influence at the national level

In Summary
  • Analysts say the President could do away with regional leaders in his camp considered highly divisive and arrogant
  • Osoro, a key Kenya Kwanza linchpin from the Gusii region, had vowed to save Monda at the Senate to assert his influence.
Lawyer Katwa Kigen (L), impeached Kisii Deputy Governor Robert Monda and National Assembly Majority Whip Sylvanus Osoro at the Senate on March 13, 2024
Lawyer Katwa Kigen (L), impeached Kisii Deputy Governor Robert Monda and National Assembly Majority Whip Sylvanus Osoro at the Senate on March 13, 2024

Former Kisii Deputy Governor Robert Monda's impeachment has exposed Kenya Kwanza’s soft underbelly with South Mugirango MP Silvanus Osoro left walking a political tightrope.

It emerged that President William Ruto may be forced to change tack and realign or overhaul his team in his push to penetrate Kisii, a region perceived to be opposition leader Raila Odinga’s stronghold.

Analysts say Ruto could take advantage of the bromance with Raila to do away with regional leaders considered divisive and arrogant.

Reports suggest that Kenya Kwanza team from Kisii is split right in the middle as some MPs are allegedly critical of Osoro’s leadership.

There are also signals that Monda’s ouster could provide ground to push for an overhaul.

Osoro, a key Kenya Kwanza linchpin from the region has been at loggerheads with Kisii Governor Simba Arati.

Initially, he had vowed to save Monda at the Senate to assert his influence.

“I swear before God, Monda is not going anywhere, you will bring him to Nairobi with the little money you have been given… We know how to deal with it… He is not going anywhere,’’ Osoro said after MCAs impeached Monda.

However, when the motion was brought to the Senate, Osoro suffered twin blows.

The first blow was being discharged as part of Monda's defence team. The other was the ultimate loss when the motion sailed through, throwing him and some of his allies back to the drawing board.

The loss now raises hard political questions about his influence at the national level.

It also casts doubt on his political charisma to bring Kisii leaders together.

On Sunday, former South Mugirango parliamentary aspirant Rashid Minyong'a said Monda's ouster had irredeemably exposed Osoro.

"It is now clear that chest-thumbing and bragging does not help. The impeachment also shows that Osoro lacks influence at the national level," he said.

Monda, a one-time MP for Nyaribari Chache, was shown the door on Thursday after the Senate upheld his impeachment.

He is the first deputy governor to be impeached since the advent of devolution in 2013.

The Senate voted overwhelmingly to send Monda home after confirming all the four charges levelled against him including receiving a Sh800,000 bribe from a youth looking for a job.

Before his impeachment, Monda had a close association with Osoro and Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu.

His association with Osoro led to a fallout with his boss Arati.

Kisii leaders in Osoro’s camp are Senator Richard Onyonka, Woman Representative Doris Donya and Kitutu Chache North MP Japhet Nyakundi.

Onyonka abstained from the vote at the Senate.

While Monda is associated with Osoro’s axis, there is another UDA camp of MPs Zaheer Jhanda (Nyaribari Chache) and Alpha Miruka (Bomachoge Borabu), which is considered liberal and non-extremist.

Both Jhanda and Miruka kept off Monda’s impeachment motion debate.

Ruto could change tack and work with the two as unifying elements in his bid to turn tables against Raila in the region.

Arati, who serves as the ODM nation vice chairperson, is Raila's point man in the region and most trusted political lieutenant.

Analysts say Osoro is the biggest loser of Monda’s impeachment, exposing his dwindling political grip and influence in Kisii politics.

Kitutu Chache South MP Anthony Kibagendi said Osoro, Machogu and some UDA MPs had misled Monda into flexing muscles with his boss Arati.

“The busybody UDA MPs from the region and the CS had misled elder Monda. Look at what has now happened. Now you know the president does not listen to them. They said Monda will not be impeached but the president let the law take its cause,’’ he said.

Kibagendi, an ally of Raila, said politics is about absolute loyalty to one’s boss and sponsoring a political party.

“They had even said that the region will get many Principal Secretaries yet we got nothing, this is all but arrogance,’’ he said.

In November last year, Monda hosted a number of Arati's critics at his Keumbu home.

Osoro, Nyakundi, Donya, Onyonka and Nyaribari Masaba MP Daniel Manduku were some of the MPs at the meeting.

Former Kitutu Masaba MP and ODM national treasurer Timothy Bosire described the developments as a wake-up call and a moment of reflection for Kisii leaders.

“If any group celebrates, I find it immoral. Hatred is not a good thing. Leaders must reflect on whether they have the same respect they used to enjoy locally and nationally and whether they are on track to serve people,’’ he said.

Political analyst Alexander Nyamboga said reports that Osoro had unsuccessfully tried to seek President William Ruto's intervention leaves a lot to be desired about his influence in Kenya Kwanza.

"It was a vote of no confidence on the part of Osoro and a clear political score for Arati,'' he said.

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