Nasa leaders tell supporters to keep out of harm’s way

Sunday August 13 2017

Nasa luminaries (from left) James Orengo, Johnson Muthama, and head of technical committee David Ndii. They have asked Nasa supporters to keep out of harm’s way. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Nasa luminaries (from left) James Orengo, Johnson Muthama, and head of technical committee David Ndii. They have asked Nasa supporters to keep out of harm’s way. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By JUSTUS WANGA
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The National Super Alliance (Nasa) has asked its supporters to keep out of harm’s way.

Addressing a press conference at the Okoa Kenya headquarters in Nairobi’s Lavington Saturday, Nasa campaign officials Johnson Muthama and James Orengo condemned the brutality meted on its supporters in various parts of the country by security officers on Friday night and the better part of Saturday.

“We want our supporters to get away from harm’s way. These people are out to kill them and they should not give them that opportunity,” Mr Orengo stated.

KDF

Displaying spent cartridges with the Kenya Defence Forces marks they claim were recovered from Kibera, the Nasa luminaries accused the military of being part of the security team that brutalised its supporters in Nairobi’s Kibera and Mathare slums as well as Kisumu, Migori, Homa Bay and Siaya towns.

“They are from a paramilitary unit set up for this kind of operation. We said this before but no one was ready to listen to us,” Mr Orengo said.

They then marched towards Kibera to “stand in solidarity” with their supporters while insisting they were not going to incite them into violence.

In the same conference, Kibra MP Ken Okoth condemned the state for using excess force to kill instead of dispersing demonstrators.

“Some are celebrating what has happened in Kibera, tell me, that young girl shot at in their balcony, what crime did she commit? Today you celebrate extra-judicial killing and tomorrow it will be you. Our children have a right to life,” he said.

WAY FORWARD

The Nasa leaders spoke after attending a meeting chaired by the opposition presidential candidate Raila Odinga to deliberate on the way forward following Friday night’s declaration of President Kenyatta as the winner of the August 8 election.

Mr Odinga and his co-principals did not attend the press conference, instead delegating Mr Orengo and Mr Muthama to address the media.

This is a departure from 2013 when Mr Odinga spoke immediately the results were announced, castigating the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for “shoddy” work and telling his supporters that he would petition the verdict in court.

“Mr Odinga will make known his next course of action at an appropriate time,” Mr Orengo told reporters. He refused to take further questions on the subject.

NO COURT CASE

It also emerged that Mr Odinga, his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka, ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi who has also been the head of campaign and Bungoma Senator-elect Moses Wetang’ula had used the marathon meeting to evaluate the options at their disposal after ruling out challenging the results at the Supreme Court.

Mr Odinga has lost in the courts before, much of his evidence against Mr Kenyatta’s election in the previous election being locked out on technicality. During the campaigns, he was categorical that he will not seek judicial redress should he feel he has been robbed of victory.

A source at the six-hour meeting held at Mr Odinga’s Karen home and later at the Okoa Kenya Secretariat in Lavington said it focused on a number of issues like the ongoing crackdown on demonstrations and how to reclaim “his stolen” victory.

It was then decided that Mr Orengo and Mr Muthama address the press restating their positions, something the duo who also attended the meetings did at around 4 pm, two hours after their meeting ended.

STATEMENT

Mr Muthama read the statement where he put the number of people who have succumbed to police brutality at 100.

He also displayed spent cartridges they said were from Kibera, Mathare and Kawangware.

Before they spoke, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i had denied reports that security forces had killed demonstrators.

Without going to the courts and ruling out conceding, Mr Odinga has limited options. The state intelligence is also on his case on what he could be plotting. There are reports of attempts of infiltration into his think tank so the government can pre-empt his move.

ODINGA'S OPTIONS

Mr Odinga may choose the mass action route or assume formlessness in the face of a powerful state machinery on standby to vanquish him.

But it must also not be lost on government that Mr Odinga is a battle hardened operative who has earned the reputation of successfully fighting excesses of the state in what culminated into a new Constitution in 2010. He has shown no signs of tiring.

“We are going to the court of the public opinion, a stolen election does not amount to the establishment of government,” Mr Orengo said.

The last public appearance by Nasa principals was on Friday afternoon when they made an impromptu visit to the national tallying centre at the Bomas of Kenya.

ANNOUNCE WINNER

We later learnt that the move was motivated by information that the commission was poised to announce Mr Kenyatta the winner before addressing their questions on alleged hacking and votes that had come from non-gazetted polling centres they charge went to the president’s vote basket. They have since assumed a low profile, spending most of the time together in meetings.

They accused IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati of succumbing to pressure from the State and announcing results of the presidential contest before addressing their grievances.

CONCEDE DEFEAT

There has been a chorus from religious leaders, political opponents as well as international observers asking Nasa to concede in the interest of national cohesion.

Nairobi’s central business district is deserted with the usually chocking traffic jam not there. Most people are opting to stay indoors under fear that they may be caught up in the running battles between the police and rioters.

Businesses and work places are recording minimal activity is what is already projected to affect the economy. The height of it was on Friday when Public Service Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki issued a circular instructing all civil servants to report to work with immediate effect.

Mr Muthama said the president has no mandate over them, remarks that will only escalate the already poisoned environment.

“We have the will of the people. The act of stealing elections must come to an end,” he said.