NEWS

Tension as Raila prepares to take oath

NASA flag bearer Raila Odinga addresses the press recently. He is expected to take oath today as ‘president’ of Kenya. File photo.

KENYA–Anxiety has gripped Nairobi and other cities in Kenya after NASA announced yesterday (Monday) that it will swear in its leaders as President and Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya today (Tuesday) and that the two will take an oath similar to the one sworn by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Although they had initially said they would swear in the two as the People’s President and Deputy, Monday’s announcement by NASA CEO Norman Magaya sparked panic and a flurry of meetings.

Security and legal teams had been meeting through the weekend and yesterday morning to plan how to thwart NASA plans and repulse supporters.

They included Cabinet Secretaries Fred Matiang’i (Interior), Joe Mucheru (ICT) and the Attorney General Githu Muigai.

Undeterred by threats of a ruthless clampdown, NASA pressed on last evening.

“The National Super Alliance wishes to inform supporters and the nation at large that the swearing in of Rt Hon Raila Amolo Odinga and HE Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka as President and Deputy President of the people, respectively, is on as announced earlier,” a statement sent to newsrooms later said.

“All plans are in place to ensure this event is conducted peacefully and successfully at Uhuru Park in Nairobi from 8am.

It said the event will be peaceful and “in total compliance with the Constitution and the law”.

“We, therefore, advise those attending this historic event to observe peace and avoid confrontation with police officers at all costs,” NASA said.

Magaya pledged NASA would “accomplish our mission come hell or high water” and advised supporters “to come prepared to stay until our mission is accomplished”.

“We are doing everything exactly as set out under the Constitution. The oath of office is set under the Constitution and everything will be done under the Assumption of Office Act,” Magaya said.

However, Constitution Article 141 provides for the oath to be administered only in the presence of the Chief Justice or Deputy Chief Justice and to be taken by the winner of an election declared by the electoral body.

The oath, according to Magaya, will be complete with all instruments of power including a military sword reserved for the commander-in-chief, the Constitution and a presidential seal.

It is claimed NASA has a qualified judge who will preside over the outlawed ceremony. The alliance has defied the government and insisted it will convene at Uhuru Park, which they have been shut out by the city county government.

“We have no intention whatsoever to change the venue of the event, our only option is Uhuru Park,” Magaya said, dismissing claims by the Nairobi Government that the facility was being renovated.

Unconfirmed reports last evening indicated Jubilee emissaries were engaged in last-minute efforts to push NASA to call off the event to avoid a clash with police. More than 1,000 extra officers from neighbouring counties have been deployed across the city.

As many as 5,000 regular police backed by personnel from Prisons and the Kenya Wildlife Service will be deployed this morning to ensure NASA leaders and supporters do not access any venues.

Yesterday, some Kikuyu elders visited Uhuru Park to “bless the ground ahead of a right of passage function today”. However, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria later called off what they called a ‘medical camp’ offering free male circumcision to street families.

Programme
In what appears to be an extensive programme, NASA supporters were being bused to Nairobi last night from around the country.

In Kisumu, there was day-long drama after hundreds of youths stormed Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o’s office demanding facilitation to Nairobi for the swearing-in.

But police in Nairobi were not taking any chances and have laid out an elaborate plan to scuttle any gathering. They have zoned the city into different commands and dispatched contingents of anti-riot detachments to cordon off some major open grounds, including Kamukunji, Jacaranda, City Stadium and Jeevanjee gardens.

According to NASA’s program obtained by the Star, supporters are expected to flock to the venue as early as 5am.
By press time this morning, the programme had officially started with all invited guests and dignitaries expected to be seated by 9.30am.

NASA insiders say they have also invited allies from across the borders to witness the historic ceremony seen as the defining moment for Raila’s political career and a major test for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration.
Raila, the doyen of opposition politics, and Kalonzo will make their way to the arena at exactly 10am. Then there will be opening prayers, the national anthem and entertainment.

At exactly 10.30am, Raila and Kalonzo will stand before ‘one million’ supporters for the administration of the oath of President and conferment of ‘instruments of power,’ followed by Kalonzo. There were no details on whether Raila would inspect a guard of honour.

The NASA leader will then give an ‘inaugural’ address, ending the two-and-a-half hour programme.
Yesterday, NASA principals Raila, Kalonzo and Musalia Mudavadi spent most of the day in the corridors of justice in a show of solidarity with their lieutenants facing gruelling poll petitions.

Raila, accompanied by National Assembly minority whip Junet Mohamed, was at Milimani law courts for the hearing of the election petition against Embakasi East MP Babu Owino.

Kalonzo and Mudavadi were with Wavinya Ndeti at the Machakos courts where she is challenging the election of Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua.

The principals then retreated to a meeting on the outskirts of the city to put final touches on today’s programme.
NASA has maintained it won the August 8 presidential elections and will be using those figures to swear-in their leaders.

On Friday, they released what they called actual results from IEBC’s server which put Raila ahead with 8.1 million votes against Uhuru’s 7.9 million votes. The IEBC immediately disowned the figures.
Raila and Kalonzo’s oath plan comes two months after Uhuru and his Deputy President William Ruto took similar oaths on November 28.

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