Twitter storm: Should Orengo be defending Ojaamong in court?
Siaya Senator James Orengo is under fire online for representing Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong in a corruption case.
Governor Ojaamong on Thursday denied charges of abuse of office, conspiracy to commit an economic crime and engaging in a project without proper planning.
He was charged at Milimani Law Courts alongside other county officials .
His legal team comprising of Senator Orengo and Stephen Ligunya sparked outrage online.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Kenyans accused the Senator of conflict of interest for representing a county official whose operations he should be overseeing.
Retired cleric Timothy Njoya expressed his disappointment tweeting; “TODAY I fail 2 understand the kind of Jurisprudence by which Kenya lawyers, who have been leading demonstrators to fight against corruption, can rationalize defending those accused of corruption. Orengo who has been my comrade in many demonstrations is defending the Busia Governor.”
His tweet provoked a response from former Chief Justice Wily Mutunga who wrote that Rev Njoya’s question raises moral concerns that only Orengo could address.
“1: Consider that the accused governor is “presumed innocent until the contrary is proved” (Article 50(2)(a); the right “to choose, and be represented by an advocate…”(Article 50(2)(g) as part of our Jurisprudence on criminal justice, therefore…2: You are raising a moral, ideological, and political question which only Orengo can answer you. He may not have considered the issues…but I wonder…
“3: We realize the argument is a double-edged sword that cuts both angels and the disciples of the devil…should we not just stay on the constitutional rights discourse on the issue…and 4: I was once asked why I defended bank robbers as it was morally reprehensible? I realized the questioner didn’t realize that banks, in the eyes of robbers, are robbers, too. I told him I didn’t have a “dog” in that fight…implying I defended the weak… but you are…5: To start a moral debate lawyers avoid; let’s see how the debate on #openClient’sAccounts pans in the ongoing “war” on corruption,” Dr Mutunga wrote.
Other Kenyans joined in the discussion insisting that Senator Orengo should not have taken the governor as his client.
By @James_Orengo representing @GovOjaamong, senior counsel has compromised his position and role in senate. What would he do if and when Senate summons his client to answer questions around impropriety? Will he recuse himself? https://t.co/xgEiTcYupC
— #PunguzaMizigo (@EAukot) July 5, 2018
Let's be honest, Senator James Orengo should be in the senate checking on the performance of governors. It is CORRUPTION to see the senator defending governors accused of corruption. Why is he in the legislature then? This is serious corruption. pic.twitter.com/YF3rMVBu1z
— Robert (@RobertAlai) July 5, 2018
The Senate's main role is oversight. When a Senator like Orengo represents a Governor accused of corruption, where exactly does that play in the fight for accountability? Does this count as conflict?
— Gatekeeper of Wokeness (@MarigaThoithi) July 5, 2018
Also, money has made Orengo sacrifice representing his constituency for an individual he is supposed to audit. Isn't this gross conflict of interest? A Senator can't and shouldn't represent a Governor!
— Gen. Baimungi Marete (@kenyanpeasant) July 6, 2018
@orengo_james The Sospeter Ojaamong graft court case is a litmus test of your genuine fight for good governance.
— Fred Aila (@AilaAlfred) July 6, 2018