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NASA to swear in Raila as ‘president’ next Tuesday

NASA leader Raila Odinga addresses his supporters at Uhuru park recently. File photo.

KENYA–NASA leaders are planning to swear in Raila Odinga as President of the People’s Republic of Kenya on Tuesday next week, a move bound to ignite further confrontation with Jubilee.

That’s the day Uhuru Kenyatta is to be sworn in for his second five-year term.

Yesterday the Supreme Court upheld Kenyatta’s victory in the presidential rerun on October 26. He ran virtually unopposed. Raila boycotted the poll and so did most of his supporters.

NASA says that unanimous ruling was delivered under “duress”.

After the ruling, violence erupted in Kisumu, MIgori and Kawangware. Youths rioted in parts of Kisumu, burning cars, blocking roads and confronting police at Kondele. They tried unsuccessfully to burn the Kondele police station.

In Kisumu, they burned a Safaricom mast. Safaricom is one of the “pro-government” companies NASA wants boycotted.

There was chaos in Migori, where one person was killed, and in Awendo, Rongo and Sori.

Violence also broke out in Kawangware slum in Nairobi. NASA has said all along it would swear in Raila if Uhuru is sworn in.

The opposition does not recognise Uhuru as legitimately elected, saying the polls were rigged.

It has called for civil disobedience and boycotts as part of its National Resistance Movement and push for electoral and governance reforms. It wants People’s Assemblies to deliberate on a parliamentary system and changes in electoral laws.

Yesterday, multiple sources told a Kenyan newspaper key allies of the former Prime Minister are going ahead with the swearing-in plan.

Details are scanty and the team working on the swearing-in has not commented but indicated it will brief Raila on Wednesday.

Raila himself has not commented.

On Sunday evening, he flew to Zanzibar for a series of meetings. Whom he was meeting and the purpose were not immediately known.

“We are going ahead with the swearing-in, as planned,” former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama told the Star.

It is understood, however, that some people within the coalition do not support swearing-in Raila as they say that would be too confrontational.

They are to raise their concerns on Wednesday when the swearing-in plan will be unveiled.

The President said he would not engage in dialogue with the opposition until “constitutional options” had been exhausted.

Raila has called for Uhuru to step aside in a six-month transitional government to prepare for a free, fair and credible presidential eleciton.

Through his adviser Salim Lone, Raila said the Supreme Court ruling had been delivered under “duress”, and the opposition would not recognise the new government.

Kenyatta won with 98 per cent of the vote, with turnout at 39 per cent.

Raila said in that statement the six judges (one was absent due to illness) were pressured to validate Uhuru’s win.

“We in NASA had repeatedly declared before this Supreme Court ruling today that we consider this government to be illegitimate and we do not recognise it.

“This position has not been changed by the court ruling, which does not come as a surprise,” Raila’s statement said.

Yesterday, NASA’s chief executive officer Norman Magaya described the October 26 presidential rerun as a “charade”.

He said the opposition will announce its next move in five days.

Yesterday Chief Justice David Maraga said all the six judges unanimously decided to dismiss two petitions calling for Uhuru’s reelection to be nullified. He said they lacked merit.

They were filed by former MP John Haroun Mwau, Khelef Khalifa and Njonjo Mue.Dismissal opens the way for Uhuru to be inaugurated for a second five-year term.

NASA says its unfair for the presidency to be held by two communities and traded back and fourth between them, while excluding other communities.

The prolonged electoral stalemate has disrupted the economy and forced the government to reduce its growth forecast.

Rights groups say at least 66 people have died in shootings by police between August and October.The decision was unanimous, delivered despite earlier speculation that one of the justices wanted to issue a dissenting verdict.A full and detailed judgment will be issued by the court in 21 days.

The CJ said it was not possible to render the entire judgment due to time constraints. The petitions were heard last Wednesday and Thursday by CJ Maraga, Deputy CJ Philomena Mwilu, justices Jackton Ojwang’, Smokin Wanjala, Njoki Ndung’u and Isaac Lenaola.

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