Nasa supporters accuse Raila Odinga of cowardice in oath plot

Monday December 11 2017

Raila Odinga

Nasa leader Raila Odinga. He has said no one will stop him from "lifting the Bible". PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP.

By VIVERE NANDIEMO
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By DAVID MWERE
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Some Migori residents have expressed their anger after Nasa leader Raila Odinga called off his planned inauguration as the ‘people’s president’.

Mr Odinga and his running mate in the August 8 poll Kalonzo Musyoka were to be “sworn- in” as president and deputy president, respectively, on Tuesday.

'GIVEN UP'

The oaths were to run parallel to Jamhuri Day celebrations, marking the day when Kenya became a republic in 1964.

Even though Mr Odinga and other Nasa officials on Sunday the postponement did not mean abandonment of their quest for electoral justice, some of ardent Nasa supporters are unhappy.

On Monday, Mr Odinga’s supporters openly showed disappointment.

Those who talked to the Nation said they had given up.

“I was eagerly waiting for the occasion. I wanted baba to be sworn in because I believe he is my president. He has just let me down,” said Mr Victor Omondi, a resident of Migori.

Mr Dishon Hamisi, a trader in the town, said Nasa had denied him a reason to celebrate Jamhuri Day. The planned ceremony was to fall on the same day as Jamhuri Day, were Kenyans celebrated the day when the country became a republic.

DEMOS

"I was looking forward to Jamhuri Day because I wanted to celebrate my president. Now this will not happen after all. I am very unhappy and I will not follow Nasa events anymore."

Migori was one of the four Nyanza counties where Nasa supporters staged demos against the repeat presidential election on October 26, forcing the IEBC to cancel the poll.

A gang of youth went as far as welding barriers across the main roads to block IEBC officials from delivering poll materials.

Yet the cancellation of the planned swearing-in for the opposition leader seems to have annoyed them more.

"I will not mark Jamhuri Day. Why should I yet there is nothing to celebrate. I wanted to celebrate baba," said Ms Sarah Robi, another supporter.

Scores of other supporters took to social media to express their displeasure. 

REFORMS

Some even trolled Nasa, accusing the opposition alliance of “acting cowardly”.

Mr Moses Murimi Masiaga, who ran for Kuria West MP seat on a Nasa affiliate party, announced his defection from Nasa the moment the Mr Musalia Mudavadi read the statement.

"I forthwith withdraw my support from Nasa. Let me concentrate elsewhere. I would rather be independent than support a coalition that lets me down severally," Mr Masiaga posted on Facebook.

Mr Otieno Mark Agutu, from Homa Bay County, posted on Facebook: "Revolutions need people to act boldly and bravely regardless of what others think. I expected Nasa to move on with the swearing-in regardless of what many are saying.”

He accused Nasa not being serious in their quest for democracy.

"This is the only way of achieving electoral reforms. Now that they have chickened out, it goes a long way to show Nasa is not fully committed to fighting electoral injustice and they should come out and tell Kenyans that they have given up"

Mr Agutu said Nasa leaders should keep their peace.

POLICE

"So Nasa has just demonstrated its cowardice. Let them stop telling us about electoral reforms. Let us now wait for another five years to go back to the polls, period."

However, there are those who supported the Nasa move.

"It is wise that Nasa postponed the event. Somehow the police would have used force to stop it and lead to loss of lives. It would have been bad to lose innocent blood, especially on such a crucial day in the history of our country," said Ms Mary Awiti from Rongo.

Others urged Nasa to stop the swearing-in plans altogether.

"It is good they consulted and saw the sense of calling it off. I urge them to devise other ways of fighting for electoral reforms in the country other than swearing- in Raila and Kalonzo," said Matinde Mangera Mwita, an ODM activist in Kuria region.

NGOs

Separately, NGOs council lauded Nasa leaders for calling off  the swearing-in.

National chairman Stephen Cheboi on Monday said the event could have caused more problems to the country.

“We thank Nasa leadership for allowing Kenyans humble time to celebrate Jamhuri Day, being an important day in the Republic of Kenya,” Mr Cheboi said.

Mr Cheboi, however, called on Nasa leaders and their jubilee colleagues, led by President Uhuru Kenyatta, to prioritise dialogue “as this is the only way to tackle the political grievances the country is facing.”