At least 55,000 voters have appended their signatures on a petition seeking to suspend Vihiga County government amid rising political temperatures.
This even as the local ODM leadership of the party Mr Raila Odinga leads to intervene and stem the attempt to suspend the devolved government.
Former County Secretary Francis Ominde and political analyst Joseph Simekha, both Odinga allies, and who are believed to have initiated the surprise dissolution drive, have levelled six allegations against the county government, including corruption, incompetence and abuse of office.
With the signatures in place, attention is now on President Kenyatta after the initiators of the drive said they will soon proceed to Harambee House to deliver the petition.
Fearing the ongoing political intrigues could hurt the ODM-run county government, the branch party executive committee, chaired by Zebedee Osabwa, said it has reached out to the national office to help stem the rising revolt.
Only 27,241 signatures, which is 10 per cent of the registered voters in the county, were needed to compel President Kenyatta to act on the petition.
Yesterday, Mr Simekha, who is chairing the Vihiga Political Action Caucus, said they have surpassed the needed threshold of 10 per cent of registered voters. They’re fine-tuning the petition before forwarding it to Harambee House.
Governor Wilber Ottichilo, through ODM’s county executive committee, is pleading with the party leadership to tame Mr Simekha, the party political strategist.
Mr Osabwa dismissed the call by ODM branch officials. He said they’ve reached out to ODM National Chairman John Mbadi and Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna.
However, Mr Simekha distanced ODM from the petition. He denied party sponsorship of the push, describing the petition as a people-driven initiative by residents who belong to different political parties “on a mission to clean up the devolved unit”.
Mr Simekha said that it would be interesting to see his party accept to be dragged into a people’s initiative [aimed at saving] the face of the local administration against what he termed as ills raised in the petition.
However, Mr Osabwa described Mr Simekha as a rogue ODM member.
He said party officials have sought the help of the national office in the matter that has heightened political temperatures in the devolved unit.
“Simekha is holding clandestine meetings in parts of Vihiga County with the aim of undermining the leadership of Governor Ottichilo.
“His agenda is to paint the governor as a non-performer,” Mr Osabwa said.