KISUMU, Kenya, December 11, 2019 – Embattled former Kisumu County Assembly Speaker George Onyango Oloo has suffered a major blow after an industrial court upheld his impeachment.
The beleaguered former speaker had moved to court in order to contest his removal by several members of the county assembly. Oloo becomes the first speaker to have his impeachment upheld by a court of law since 2013.
Justice Nduma Nderi, of the employment and labor relations court said that the impeachment was done in accordance with the law. The judge said that Oloo was properly served with a notice of impeachment and was removed by 42 MCAs. “The petition is dismissed because it lacks merit,” ruled Justice Nderi.
Moments after the ruling, Oloo said he will challenge the verdict at the Court of Appeal. This came as MCAs and supporters allied to the acting speaker Elisha Oraro burst into song and dance following the verdict.
In his suit, Oloo had sought for six orders including one to reinstate him as the speaker. The lawyer by profession averred that his impeachment was marked by a series of breaches of the law prayed the court to overturn the assembly’s decision.
He was also fighting for the reinstatement of the benefits, allowances and privileges that he enjoyed as Speaker.
Oloo had also claimed that Oraro’s election contravened the provisions of Article 178 (1) of the Constitution, arguing that Oraro is a sitting member of the county assembly.
In the course of the proceedings, the County Assembly had asked the court to dismiss the suit.
It argued the decision to impeach Oloo was made by the House Business Committee before it was communicated to MCAs for debate. Mr Oraro said Oloo was given a chance to defend himself by the assembly but failed to appear before it.
Oraro explained that Oloo admitted he knew about the notice of the impeachment motion but ignored it.
Oloo was impeached on September 19, 2019, after being accused of abuse of office, unlawful suspension of MCAs, and being linked to KSh2.5 billion Lake Basin Development Authority Kisumu Mall scandal.
On September 18, 2019, the anti-riot police dispersed a section of MCAs who had ganged up with some members of the public to block Oloo from entering his office.
He earlier said that he would not seek intervention from the corridors of justice because as far as he was concerned; no court order was barring him from accessing his office as a substantive speaker.
On October 2, 2019, Mr Oloo moved to court to challenge his ouster. In the application filed under a certificate of urgency, he sought six orders including stopping the county assembly from implementing the impeachment.
He also petitioned the Labour and Employment Court to issue orders reinstating him as speaker pending the hearing and determination of his application. The county assembly, on the other hand, filed a counterpetition seeking to compel him to return county assets in his possession, including motor vehicles.
His defence team on October 24, 2019, argued that he made attempt to issue a response but was barred from accessing the County Assembly by “hooligans”.
In his defence, Muga Apondi and Carlos Omondi testified before court and stated that the MCAs impeached him irregularly. The duo averred that Mr Oloo’s rights were violated and that he was not accorded time to respond to the allegations.
Oraro later filed an affidavit and said that Oloo’s impeachment was lawful. He argued that the decision was made by the House Business Committee before it was communicated to the MCAs for debate.
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