Kenya’s Watershed Moment, as Raila Odinga is Set to be Inaugurated

By David Indeje / Published January 30, 2018 | 7:24 am



Kenya’s Watershed Moment, as Raila Odinga is Set to be Inaugurated

The National Super Alliance (NASA) is prepared to inaugurate Raila Odinga as the people’s president at Uhuru Park, Nairobi.

On the eve of the planned oath taking, two things happened.

One, the government warned the media not to provide live coverage of the event according to Linus Kaikai, chair of the Kenya Editors Guild.

“The Kenya Editors Guild is gravely alarmed over a developing trend by the government to gag or threaten the media over coverage of the current political events in the country,” he said in a statement.

“Kenyatta expressly threatened to shut down and revoke the licenses of any media houses that would broadcast live the planned purported swearing in,” added Kaikai.

Secondly, early Tuesday morning, anti-riot police were withdrawn from the grounds besides having issued stern warning not to allow the event to happen.

Further, the County Government had issued a closure notice of the ground with plans to ‘renovate’.

Kenya’s Attorney General Githu Muigai has also on numerous occasions said the inauguration would amount to treason.

On Monday however, NASA Chief executive Officer Norman Magaya said that they “We intend to hold a peaceful event, in total compliance with the constitution and the law. We nonetheless wish to put the Jubilee administration on notice that we will accomplish our mission come hell or high water.”

Consequently, the International Crisis Group says both sides need to show restraint.

According to the Group, “Kenya’s ongoing electoral standoff could be compounded further if opposition leader Raila Odinga proceeds with a “swearing-in” ceremony that might elicit a tough response from President Kenyatta. To avert the risk of further protests, destruction and bloodshed, all actors should redouble efforts to broker a last-minute deal.”

Salim Lone, a Kenyan journalist who was Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s Spokesman (2007-2012), is of the view that Rail needs to be sworn in.

“This momentous, first-ever people-led national debate is being narrowly cast as being about the swearing-in by the People’s Assembly, a powerful but essentially symbolic exercise,” he says.

“The swearing-in is being forcefully propelled by ordinary Kenyans, who have since the fake October election relentlessly pushed not-always eager leaders to confront the plague of electoral theft and injustice through the revolutionary idea of swearing in. This is the first such mass movement in Kenya’s independent history, and it holds the potential for bringing meaningful change to Kenya if it succeeds in its current quest,” adds Lone.

Early this year, Raila quoting the late South African President Nelson Mandela he said “There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere.”

Raila noted that since August 8th 2017, more than 215 people have lost their lives at the hands of the Kenya Police. Families have been left torn apart for exercising their democratic rights. It cannot be right that innocent children playing have become shooting targets for a rogue police force.

“They have asked us all to ‘forget and move on.’ We will not forget the spirit of all the children who are no longer with us. We will not move on from the deaths of all these innocent lives. For as long as we keep marching on, we shall emerge victorious!” he reiterated.

The Opposition leader already termed the swearing in of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto as President and Deputy President as a ‘coronation other than an inauguration because we don’t believe that he’s the legitimately elected leader of Kenya’” he told the BBC.

Uhuru, re-elected in Oct 26 repeat poll in a closely contested vote, called for national unity in his speech on Tuesday at the event held at a stadium in the capital, Lusaka, and attended by regional leaders.

Uhuru won 98.26 percent (7,483, 895 votes)  according to the  Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in the October 26 repeat poll. Only 39 percent of registered voters took part.

The repeat presidential vote followed an election in August, which Kenyatta also won but which was nullified by the Supreme Court stating it was ‘invalid, null and void’.

The August 8 poll, he garnered 8,203,290 (54.27 per cent) votes against Mr Raila’s 6,762, 224 (44.74 per cent).




About David Indeje

David Indeje is a writer and editor, with interests on how technology is changing journalism, government, Health, and Gender Development stories are his passion. Follow on Twitter @David_IndejeDavid can be reached on: (020) 528 0222 / Email: info@sokodirectory.com

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