Kenya’s opposition coalition National Super Alliance (NASA) party has called off the planned swearing-in of its failed presidential candidate and leader Raila Odinga as president, an act described as treasonous.
The party leaders said on Sunday that the planned inauguration on independence day December 12, 2017, was postponed after national and international consultations.
“We wish to assure them [Kenyans] that our resolve has not changed. Specifically, we want to reiterate that any national dialogue must have electoral justice on the agenda. We are not interested in sharing illegitimate dictatorial power,” the party’s co-principal Musalia Mudavadi said in a statement.
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They also apologized for “disappointing Kenyans”, reports local media portal Daily Nation.
The government and international bodies had warned NASA 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.
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.
Odinga responded saying: “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.
“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,” he said.
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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