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Why Nasa transformed to civil disobedience drive

Wednesday October 25 2017

Nasa leader Raila Odinga

Nasa leader Raila Odinga addresses his supporters at Uhuru Park, Nairobi, on October 25, 2017. He said the Jubilee government is not qualified to govern. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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The opposition coalition on Wednesday set the stage for confrontation with the Jubilee administration after it announced the beginning of civil disobedience after asking its supporters to stay away from Thursday's repeat election.

Nasa leader Raila Odinga described President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto as despots who he vowed to fight by transforming his coalition into a resistance movement.

Mr Odinga led his co-principals Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula in the much awaited declaration at Uhuru Park, announcing the transformation of Nasa into the National Resistance Movement.

He said their supporters will be required to defy rules, demands, and commands of the government and its officials, both at the national and regional level.

Addressing a crowd at Uhuru park, the opposition chief, who had earlier pulled out of the fresh presidential election, asked Nasa supporters to hold prayers away from polling stations or stay at home on Thursday as the “sham election” takes place.

Mr Odinga said the coalition, as part of its resistance, will boycott goods and services offered by businesses it believed have benefited from the government and convene a people’s assembly for a dialogue on the way back to constitutionalism and democracy.


Nasa will also mobilise all like-minded individuals and coalitions in the country to ensure that a fresh, free and fair presidential election is organised within 90 days.

“From today we are transforming Nasa into a resistance movement, embark on a national campaign of defiance of illegitimate governmental authority and non-co-operation with all its organs and boycott the goods and services offered by the businesses for whose benefit dictatorship is being established,” Mr Odinga said.

The opposition chief accused the Jubilee administration of being hell-bent on reneging on the democratic gains of the Constitution to return dictatorship.

Mr Odinga painted the government as “a vicious, reckless and power hungry regime controlled by two autocrats who are hell-bent to return the country to dictatorial regimes where the rule of law did not hold ground”.

“Tomorrow, Uhuru and Ruto intend to actualise the electoral dictatorship they set out to establish on August 8.

"Tomorrow, they will defy the ruling of the highest court in the land, and conduct a sham election that only they can be victors – a coup de tat,” Mr Odinga said.

The opposition explained that they resorted to civil disobedience and transforming Nasa into a coalition because the government has refused to listen to them and the electoral commission also failed to address the legitimate 12 irreducible minimums they had set.

Mr Odinga further explained that President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy precipitated the formation of the movement by attempting to establish an unlawful government.

“Uhuru and Ruto have invited us to exercise the sovereign power directly as enshrined in the very first article of our Constitution.

"We have accepted the invite and we will embark on a national campaign of defiance of illegitimate governmental authority and non-cooperation with all its organs,” Mr Odinga said.

“After the August election, and even before the new one, President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto have moved to dismantle the entire edifice of the rule of law enshrined in Kenya’s Constitution to consolidate their long-term power.”

The Nasa presidential candidate withdrew his candidature from the repeat poll on October 9 accusing the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) of stonewalling deliberations to have a credible repeat election.

The opposition leader, in a hard hitting statement to the Jubilee government, reiterated his call to Nasa supporters not to stage street demos on election day, warning that the government had deployed police “to kill” them.

Mr Odinga said the coalition is aware of a well coordinated plan by the police to kill Nasa supporters if they turn out to demonstrate tomorrow.

“Let us not play in the trap of the government; they are prepared to kill our supporters tomorrow and therefore we will not give them a chance,” Mr Odinga said.

He urged his supporters to instead hold prayers in their residences and also reach out to their neighbours and convince them not to vote.

“We are aware that the blood-thirsty regime is using every chance to massacre our people,” he said.

“They have killed our children,” he added in reference to young children killed in Kisumu and Mathare slums, Nairobi, during Nasa’s protests against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Police are accused of killing more than 30 people since the demos started in August, a claim the National Police Service denies and puts the number at less than a dozen.

While he was openly livid, Mr Odinga, who for the second time used foul language on live TV, preached peace.

He called on his supporters not to attack supporters of the Jubilee Party, saying they are equally bound to suffer what he termed as Jubilee Party “dictatorship”.

“Do not castigate your neighbour based on their ethnicity. Look at them with compassion,” he said.

“From tomorrow, the duty of every citizen who loves the Constitution is to resist dictatorship.”

But he said the movement will not recognise and respect any anyone in power from the President to the village chiefs.

“Since Jubilee has insisted to carry on with the sham election today, we will not recognise or respect the President, his deputy, any order from Dr Matiang’i, county commissioners and all the others,” Mr Odinga said.

In a statement read by the three co-principals, the opposition said from Friday they will start civil disobedience.


In the declaration that Mr Odinga christened “Uhuru Park declaration”, the opposition also warned of product boycott against companies deemed to have benefited from the government.

“We will also tell our supporters which TV stations to watch, newspaper to read and radio station to listen to each week,” Mr Odinga said amid deafening cheer from the crowd.

The opposition leader told his supporters that he will give them further direction on Sunday.