Kenya’s failed presidential candidate takes path of treason

Ismail Akwei December 08, 2017
Raila Odinga's swearing in as Prime Minister in 2008 -- Photo Credit: Daily Nation

Kenya’s main opposition coalition National Super Alliance (NASA) party is planning to swear in disappointed leader Raila Odinga as “the people’s president” on December 12, a treasonable act under Kenyan laws.

The decision, which earlier made the rounds as a rumour, attracted the swift response of the government and international bodies who warned against the so-called inauguration and the organisation of a “people’s assembly” backed by 12 Kenyan counties.

Kenya’s Attorney General Githu Muigai cautioned Odinga that he will be charged with treason if he’s sworn in.

READ ALSO: Will Kenya’s political unrest come to rest after Kenyatta’s swearing-in?

United States officials also held a meeting with Odinga and other opposition figures to advise them against the planned inauguration. Led by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Bureau of African Affairs Donald Yamamoto, the opposition party was warned that the move will further deepen the crisis in the country.

In a rebuttal on Thursday at a mortuary where he met the families of those who died during post-election clashes, Raila Odinga said: “the will of the people cannot be stopped”.

He accused them of not speaking during the post-election violence when opposition supporters were attacked by the police during banned demonstrations which left at least 33 people dead as jointly reported by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International

“We thought we had friends but we were wrong and now we know they are enemies. Up to today, no single ambassador has condemned the killing of people by police. The western countries should, therefore, keep off the affairs of the country as Kenyan problems will only be solved by Kenyans themselves,” Odinga was quoted by local news portal Daily Nation.

He insisted that the inauguration will be held as planned and called on his supporters to seek justice.
“The excesses being employed by the illegitimate Jubilee regime in a bid to hold on to power without the people’s mandate will not deter us from our quest for justice,” he said.

“The families of young lives lost as a result of extrajudicial killings must be compensated by the State,” he added.

This is not new in the East African region where Uganda’s main opposition leader Kizza Besigye swore himself in as president in 2016, a day before the official swearing in of President Yoweri Museveni who won the 2016 election with 62 percent of the vote.

READ ALSO: Kenya’s political crisis deepens as repeat election takes place

Besigye was arrested during the swearing-in ceremony which he organised after accusing the government of rigging the election. He has been prosecuted multiple times for illegal demonstrations, slanderous statements and twice for treason which he narrowly escaped the death sentence in 2010 and probably escape that of 2016 which is still in court.

Will this be the fate of Raila Odinga? Is it just political propaganda? These questions including where and who will swear Odinga in are still unanswered.

Raila Odinga contested the results of the August 8 presidential election which he lost to incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta. The election was nullified by the Supreme Court and a repeat election on October 26 was largely won by the president due to an opposition boycott.

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Last Edited by:Ismail Akwei Updated: June 19, 2018


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