In Summary
  • The division pits mostly younger politicians against their seasoned counterparts who believe that doing so would be a catastrophic for the former prime minister.
  • Amani National Congress leader and Nasa co-principal Musalia Mudavadi was cagey about the plans even as reports suggested that he is among those who are not enthusiastic about the whole idea.
  • Minority Whip in the National Assembly Junet Mohamed, a key ally of Mr Odinga, was also cautious but said the event will go on.
  • Since the announcement, there have been a series of consultative meetings by the Nasa leadership.

Top leaders of the National Super Alliance are split over whether or not  Raila Odinga should be sworn-in as the “people’s president” on December 12.

The division pits mostly younger politicians against their seasoned counterparts who believe that doing so would be a catastrophic for the former prime minister.

It is similar fears that put off a supposed oath-taking last Tuesday to coincide with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s inauguration at Kasarani with only a memorial service at Jacaranda grounds — that was also stopped by the police — planned.

However, this led to a backlash from supporters who wanted Mr Odinga to hold a parallel swearing-in. An invitation to the December 12 event is already circulating even though no venue and other specific details are provided.

As this happens, the Nation has learnt that even though there could be some sort of declaration of Mr Odinga as the “people’s president” there is caution on the nature of “swearing-in” to be carried out with some seasoned Nasa politicians, who spoke in confidence, convinced it would be a misstep.

SQUANDER GOOD WILL

“He is a reform hero admired far and wide. We will not allow him to squander such goodwill. It is true our victory was stolen but this is not the way we want to go,” a senior ally of Mr Odinga’s, who spoke in confidence, told the Nation.

He said Nasa’s push for electoral reforms through the People’s Assembly, economic boycott and protests were strong enough without the distraction of an “empty” swearing-in.

On Saturday, Amani National Congress leader and Nasa co-principal Musalia Mudavadi was cagey about the plans even as reports suggested that he is among those who are not enthusiastic about the whole idea. He is said to be worried about the legal implications of the move and its effect on stoking emotions and damaging Mr Odinga’s standing.

“Let’s talk on Monday when we have a clear picture,” he told the Nation.

DECLARATION

Minority Whip in the National Assembly Junet Mohamed, a key ally of Mr Odinga, was also cautious but said the event will go on.

“We are on course with the swearing-in but proper communication will be issued in due course,” he said.

Mr Odinga’s own declaration on Tuesday at Jacaranda Grounds in Nairobi that he would be sworn-in on Jamhuri Day came as a surprise to many, including some of his co-principals who are said not to have been in the loop.

It would later turn out that Mr Odinga made the declaration in the heat of the moment, largely driven by pressure from the ecstatic supporters who have been demanding that he, in defiance of President Kenyatta’s victory, should swear himself in and lead them to State House.

“The statement was made out of public pressure,” said a top member of the coalition who did not want to appear as openly contradicting their candidate in the August 8 election.

Since the announcement, there have been a series of consultative meetings by the Nasa leadership.

CRACKS EMERGED

On Thursday, such a meeting was held at Mr Mudavadi’s home on Riverside Drive, Nairobi, to draw a roadmap for the opposition outfit even as cracks emerged among affiliate parties on the parliamentary leadership. ANC and Wiper Party have cried foul over the list of Nasa nominees to various House roles.

At a parliamentary group meeting last Wednesday, Wiper party whose leader Kalonzo Musyoka has been away attending to his ailing wife in Germany, avoided the swearing-in subject with some members saying that they are not keen on it.

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