Need for electoral justice drives Raila's oath plan

Tuesday December 26 2017

raila swear-in

EALA MP Oburu Oginga (left) talks with Nasa leader Raila Odinga, and his granddaughter, during service at Nyamira ACK Church in Bondo, Siaya County, on December 25, 2017. Mr Odinga has been calming down a charged support base that wants him sworn in. PHOTO | COURTESY 

By PATRICK LANG'AT
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By NELCON ODHIAMBO
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After postponing his planned swearing-in ceremony on December 12, Nasa leader Raila Odinga has not had it easy from his increasingly impatient supporters.

They want him to hold the Bible, take the oath and become president, an office they say was taken away from him.

“Everywhere I go, you always give me a Bible to take the oath,” Mr Odinga told a church gathering at St Peters Nyamira parish on Christmas Day.

At the service, he was pictured lifting the Bible to an adoring crowd that cheered him on.

“My supporters should not panic; I am soon going to take the oath. I mind your concerns,” he said, promising not to let them down this time.

JAMHURI DAY
After withdrawing from the October 26 repeat presidential election, which was ordered after the Supreme Court annulled the August 8 poll at the request of Mr Odinga in a ground-breaking petition, the former prime minister vowed to take the presidential oath of office on the same day President Uhuru Kenyatta took his.

But that day, Tuesday, November 28, his supporters were brutally beaten and others killed.

He postponed the ceremony to December 12, the day Kenyans mark independence celebrations.

TREASON
Even after Mombasa County offered to host the event, Mr Odinga’s team still deferred the event, to the disappointment of his hardline supporters.

Attorney General Githu Muigai had warned that it would be “high treason” punishable by death for Mr Odinga to swear himself in as president.

But Mr Odinga, who in the past was imprisoned by former president Daniel arap Moi’s government, stuck to his guns, saying he is not afraid of death and, if it came to it, he would gladly die to usher in electoral justice.

SUPPORTERS

Since postponing the oath ceremony, Mr Odinga has been calming down a charged support base that wants him sworn in.

“We promise you that you can now look forward confidently to our swearing-in ceremony very early in the new year,” Mr Odinga said in a statement sent to newsrooms on Christmas Eve.

“We cannot and shall not go back to dictatorship.”

Siaya Senator James Orengo, Mr Odinga’s lawyer and close confidant, said that Mr Odinga would become President in 2018 after the Jubilee government is kicked out of office.

“Uhuru will be taken down by Nasa, which will provide Kenyans with good leadership headed by Mr Odinga,” Mr Orengo, who led the legal team that won the landmark Supreme Court case, said during the Christmas service.

FEAR
Although Nasa strategist David Ndii has said that Nasa supporters will not storm State House after the swearing-in, the ceremony will definitely happen.

“It’s going to happen,” Dr Ndii said in a TV interview on Monday.

“I am absolutely certain that it is not treasonable. I think it is fairly obvious that we are not going to march into State House.”

Dr Ndii also dismissed claims that the event had been postponed for fear of treason charges, which he dismissed as nonsense.

“When we do the swearing-in, we will walk to the nearest police station and say, “well, get on with it”, Dr Ndii said.