Monday January 8, 2018
Nasa leaders have announced a nationwide campaign to build momentum for the swearing-in as the people’s president, of opposition leaders Raila Odinga and his deputy Kalonzo Musyoka on January 30. The event coincided with Mr Odinga’s 73rd birthday, with some delegates and leaders making a surprise birthday celebration punctuated by demands for him to be sworn in. Mr Odinga was born on January 7, 1945.
The two said the date is now fixed, and that they will not bow to pressure from their supporters to “lift the Bible and be sworn into office casually”, saying they will follow a strict programme drawn by their advisers.
The Nasa leaders, who were addressing a rally at the Kakamega bus park, did not give details of the timelines to their oathing ceremony. Earlier, while speaking at a meeting to officially inaugurate the western region’s People’s Assembly at Golf Hotel in the town, the Nasa leaders said the move was not driven by greed for power, but a quest for electoral justice and reforms.
They told their supporters they were working on a five-point agenda they want to be implemented before they are sworn in.
Busia Woman Representative Florence Mutua led a group calling itself Daughters of Raila in cutting a cake, while Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala led MPs and senators in presenting Mr Odinga with the rather symbolic gift of a Bible as a birthday present. The Bible is seen as an oathing tool for Christians.
“We now have a plan,” Mr Odinga said. “It is not about carrying the Bible alone. We must have a plan after the Bible. We don’t want to be like (Ugandan opposition leader Kizza) Besigye, who took oath without a plan.”
Mr Odinga said Nasa’s campaign will focus on electoral reforms, judicial independence, the transformation of the police from a force to a service, strengthening of devolution, and restructuring the Executive.
Mr Musyoka challenged President Uhuru Kenyatta to embrace dialogue to save the country from the effects of the post-election standoff.
“Wherever we go, people want us to be sworn in immediately. For sure Kenyans have made up their minds and this is serious business,” the Wiper leader said. “If the situation is intolerable, there must be negotiations. If negotiations cannot work, then Article 1 of the Constitution should be held. We are telling Jubilee to see the mood of the nation.”
Bungoma Senator and Ford-Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula said Nasa was building momentum for the swearing-in of their leaders so that Kenyans who did not participate in the repeat presidential election on October 26 last year could take part in the people’s assemblies, while ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi told the forum that Kenyans were in great pain owing to a stolen election.
“Our fight is about electoral justice. We don’t want to be misunderstood about what we are doing. Raila and Kalonzo are symbols of our struggle for reforms in the country and our focus is to ensure electoral reforms are entrenched back into our democratic process,” said Mr Mudavadi.
Mr Malala said Nasa MPs will next week swear an affidavit to recognise Mr Odinga as the ‘People’s President’, while Mr Khaniri said the oathing should take place soon as “Kenyans are tired” and “Raila is wasting our time”.
Nasa strategist Dr David Ndii said since independence the country has gone through a cycle of bad leadership due to corruption and greed for power by politicians.
“Our leaders have been clinging to power so that they can control the economy through the support of foreign powers who are only interested in being given concessions to advance their agenda and interests in the country,” said Dr Ndii.
“Through the people’s agenda, we are seeking to reconstitute the country and ensure all communities and regions benefit from the national cake,” he said, adding: “If Kenyans decide that the presidency will be rotational, that will be done.”