Governor Obado in fight of his life as judge rules on bail today
3 weeks ago, 00:07
Migori Governor Okoth Obado has begun the fight for his life as he faces a maximum death sentence after being charged with the murder of university student Sharon Otieno.
Mr Obado was charged before Justice Jessie Lesiit and placed under the custody of prison authorities, together with hardcore criminals facing capital offences.
His fate now lies in the hands of the judge, the Director of Public Prosecutions and his team of lawyers that includes a retired judge.
The first sitting governor to face murder charges, Obado’s woes were worsened by Lesiit’s decision to send him to Industrial Area Remand Prison to spend the night as he awaited determination of his bail application.
A mental assessment confirmed that the governor was fit to stand trial and as the charge of murder was read out to him, he responded “not guilty”.
“The accused person is charged with the offence of murder and the particulars of the case states that you, Zachary Okoth Obado, between September 3 and 4, 2018, at Owande area in Rachuonyo within Homa Bay County jointly murdered Sharon Belyne Otieno,” read the charge sheet.
Looking subdued in the dock, with only his lawyers to give him hope, the governor was not only fighting to escape the hangman’s noose or life in prison but also to save his political career.
His rising political star had placed him as a kingpin in Migori politics, having weathered the storm in Orange Democratic Movement party to become the first governor in Nyanza region to be elected without the party ticket.
Should the court deny him bail, Obado’s political life will be at stake as Deputy Governor Nelson Mwita will take over as governor until the end of their term.
Article 182(d) of the Constitution provides that the governor’s office shall be vacant if the holder is convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment for at least 12 months.
This is the reason why the governor, in his affidavit seeking to be released on bail, pleaded with the court to consider the political stakes, stating that the people of Migori would suffer irreparable loss for being denied the opportunity to be led by the governor of their choice.
“I’m the governor of Migori County after being voted in overwhelmingly by the people. The allegations of murder facing me, however grave, cannot deny me my basic rights as enshrined in the Constitution,” swore Obado.
The besieged governor’s family will also come into play in his fight for survival and his morality will be put to the test following DNA results confirming he was the father of Sharon’s murdered unborn baby.
Obado is 61 years old while Sharon was 26 years old.
A report by the Government analyst concluded that there were 99.9 per cent chances that Obado was the donor of the DNA generated from Sharon’s foetus.
The governor has, however, also dragged his family in to convince the court to grant him bail, arguing that he is their sole breadwinner and they will suffer unless he is ...
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