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Saturday, 5 September 2020

Migori speaker Okoth attacked, blames ODM

 Migori county assembly speaker Boaz Okoth (centre) in Kisumu on Saturday, September 5, 2020

Migori speaker Boaz Okoth has said his life is in danger after ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna allegedly led an attack on him on Friday night.

The incident is linked to the planned impeachment of Governor Okoth Obado sanctioned by the ODM after he was charged with corruption alongside his children.

Okoth said Sifuna led a group of youths to his residence at Ruby Court in Milimani, Kisumu, on Friday night at 11pm.

His bodyguard was injured during the attack. Okoth, who has been sick for close to a year, has stayed at the apartment for five months.

But Sifuna denied the allegations. "I don't even know what he is speaking about. Let him stop sideshows," he said in a text message to the Star.

“When I went to the balcony they were ranting and I called my bodyguard. Upon arrival, he was attacked. We have the video clips and registration numbers of the vehicles used,” Okoth said.

“One of the youths identified as Peter, a brother to Sifuna, told my bodyguard that they knew him and they were going to deal with him,” he said.

The attackers were all over, he said. “I managed to escape through the back gate and went to Kisumu Central police station to report over the threats and attack at midnight,” Okoth said.

He said a vehicle was trailing him on his way to the police station and even as he came back.

“It is apparent that my life is in danger over what is taking place in Migori. I am a sick man and been down this long. Why all this intimidation and attacks?” he said.

Before the attack, Okoth said Sifuna was at the apartment shortly and later came back during the incident.

“I am told he had booked the apartment on the ground floor where I stay. I am staying on the first floor,” he said.

The alleged attack comes as political tension rises over the planned impeachment. Okoth said he fears for his life.

“Why has the desperation gone too low to attack a sick man like me? I am only the speaker of the assembly,” Okoth said.

“I was admitted at Kisumu Aga Khan Hospital and then taken to Nairobi Hospital before coming back at Aga Khan for dressing and physiotherapy,” he said.

His right leg was grafted, Okoth said. He was with his son Ochieng and other close relatives during the attack.

“I was woken up at 11pm that we have some goons shouting and insulting. The goons were claiming that Migori MCAs were in the apartment,” he said.

He said they shouted that they wanted to deal with him and the MCAs.

Okoth said as the speaker he is not supposed to debate or vote but only allowed to preside over the house proceedings. The speaker denied claims that he was with some MCAs during the incident.

He said recently a senior member of ODM and an official insulted him in his absence at the party headquarters.

“I don’t know whether they are seeing me as someone who might not do what they want. I have nothing to do with that debate. I am only there to preside. The law is very clear,” he said.

The apartment where Migori speaker Boaz Okoth lives in Kisumu
The apartment where Migori speaker Boaz Okoth lives in Kisumu
Image: MAURICE ALAL

Okoth questioned why he was being subjected to politics and intimidation. “I don’t leave my house. I only go for a morning walk because of my leg. As you can see I cannot even put on shoes. This is a sick man,” he said.

He, however, distanced ODM party leader Raila Odinga or the party from the attack. “I cannot blame Baba. The attacks were done by individuals,” he said.

The speaker said Migori MCAs are mature and they have been conducting the house business peacefully.

“If they decide to do something I have no powers over it. Why would someone go after me, a sick person?” Okoth added.

He said MCAs are in fear as for their lives, an indication of intimidation and interference with the assembly.

Okoth said he has not received an impeachment motion notice and if he does so he would discharge his mandate as required.

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