Remanded Migori Governor Okoth Obado has opened up on the county’s senatorial by-election set for Monday and his health problems.
Mr Obado also exuded confidence that he would secure his freedom from Industrial Area Remand Prison, Nairobi, on Monday
Speaking through lawyer Roger Sagana, Mr Obado said he was hoping for the best when the High Court revisits his application for bond.
“It is the discretion of the court but we hope for the best,” Mr Sagana said, adding that from the witness statements, it was clear the prosecution has a weak case.
Mr Obado said contrary to allegations that the by-election campaigns would be marred by violence orchestrated by his supporters, the exercise has been peaceful.
“Notwithstanding the ongoing campaign for Migori senatorial election set for October 8, and politicisation of my accusation, arrest and trial, there has been peace and order in and out of Migori county,” he said.
“I have preached peace before my arrest and shall continue doing so; if released on bail or bond,” he said.
Mr Obado has openly opposed ODM’s choice of former minister Ochilo Ayacko and is seen as the main backer of the youthful Eddy Oketch.
On Saturday, Mr Sagana confirmed that Mr Obado was still admitted at the general ward of Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) after he was taken ill this week.
Mr Obado is the chief suspect in the murder of Ms Sharon Otieno, 26, whose mutilated body was found in a thicket in Owade, near Oyugis township, Homa Bay County, on September 4.
In an affidavit he filed in court on Friday, Mr Obado says that looking at the statements filed by the 24 witnesses set to testify during the trial, there are no compelling reasons to continue denying him bond or bail pending trial.
“I pleaded not guilty to this charge and maintain my innocence. The hearing has not commenced and, in any case, it is not true that there is a strong case against me,” Mr Obado said.
Besides the argument that the prosecution’s case is weak, Mr Obado also cites medical grounds as the reason he should be given bond.
Mr Obado, his personal assistant Michael Oyamo and Mr Caspal Obiero, a clerk in Migori County, are expected back in the High Court on Monday where they will make fresh applications to be released on bond.
Mr Obado said he suffers from a severe back problem known as Nerve Compression with Disc Lesion on the Lumbar Spine. He said the problem started in 2013.
“To manage the condition, I have been under special care of a medical doctor by the name Prof Ating’a,” Mr Obado said, adding that the condition adversely affects his ability to stand for long hours.
“Since my condition has not been attended to for the period I have been in custody, the complication aggravated and I was taken ill on September 29, 2018. I was subsequently admitted to Kenyatta National Hospital as an inpatient and my condition has not improved since then,” he said.
Mr Obado said he cancelled a Council of Governors trip scheduled for Rwanda on the evening of September 4, 2018 when he learnt that his personal assistant had been implicated in the abduction of journalist Barrack Oduor and Ms Otieno.
Mr Oyamo was presented before the High Court on September 9 and the charge read to him but he was not required to plead because the investigations were not complete.
Mr Obado said that despite a lot of pressure from external forces and unsubstantiated public opinion, he has remained calm.
He said he has co-operated with investigators in every way and voluntarily gave them his DNA sample and mobile handset to aid in investigations.
“The investigation has not linked me to the abductors or adduced evidence on how I would hinder their arrest. Indeed, all arrests were made before my arrest about three weeks ago,” he said in the application to be released on bond.
Justice Jessie Lesiit declined to free him on bond 10 days ago, saying she was yet to see witness statements and other evidence and gauge whether there is compelling reason to deny him bail.
The prosecution has opposed his release on bond, saying he might interfere with witnesses or suppress investigations.
“Neither the investigators, witnesses, family of the deceased, nor any other persons have alleged that I committed or attempted to interfere with investigations, witnesses, evidence, intimidated them or acted in any way affecting the investigations, prosecution or trial of this case,” Mr Obado says.
Mr Obado said every bit of investigation in the matter has been exposed to the media and the public, who have convicted and punished him by public ridicule, humiliation and embarrassment.
“To this, I have not reciprocated in kind; but instead, I chose to remain mum, respecting the investigation, prosecution and judicial institutions so as not to prejudice the process,” he said.