Kenya warns Nasa over Raila Odinga parallel 'swearing-in'

Thursday November 23 2017

Eric Kiraithe

Government Spokesman Eric Kiraithe. He says any illegal assembly will be crushed. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By The EastAfrican
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Kenya's government says it is not bothered by opposition National Super Alliance’s threats to hold a parallel swearing-in of Raila Odinga as ‘people’s president’ next Tuesday.

Some Nasa leaders have indicated that Mr Odinga will take the oath of office as the alliance maintains its stand that it will not recognise and respect Uhuru Kenyatta’s presidency.

But Government Spokesperson Eric Kiraithe on Thursday said the government would not be concerned with Nasa’s acts so long as the alleged swearing-in is done in private.

“The question of a person congregating his friends to swear him in is not an issue and has no legal concern,” Mr Kiraithe told journalists in Nairobi.

“And if they held it somewhere without interfering with the rights of other people, then the government would not even be concerned.”

The swearing-in, he said, would have no bearing on Kenyans and chastised the opposition for militating and quoting the Constitution out of context to suit their desired ends.

Mr Odinga and his team, Mr Kiraithe said, have failed to show leadership to their supporters.

“Placing wave after wave of deceptive propaganda on the toiling shoulders of your supporters is not leadership and declaring yourself a people’s president does not even make you a MCA,” said Kiraithe.

“It just makes you and your followers criminals.”

President-elect

Mr Kiraithe said all the elective posts in the constitution had been filled and office bearers known to all Kenyans.

“Today, Kenyans know their MCAs, MP, woman rep, senator, governor and on November 20, the Supreme Court confirmed the election of President Uhuru Kenyatta as the president-elect of the republic,” he said.

President Kenyatta, the spokesman said, is ready to work with everyone, including Kenyans who did not vote for him.

Mr Odinga, who pulled out of the October 26 repeat presidential election, said Mr Kenyatta was still an "illegitimate president" despite winning the poll with 98 per cent of votes cast.

He has since embarked on a campaign for what he terms "electoral justice" with a view of returning Kenya to polls in 90 days under the organisation and management of a new electoral commission.

But the government has warned the opposition over plans to cause civil disobedience and threatened to respond with “equal force of the law”.

Mr Kiraithe said any assembly called to execute an unlawful purpose would not be tolerated in the country.

“Every meeting called in furtherance of an unlawful purpose is by law unlawful assembly. Any person attending such unlawful assembly should expect the full force of the law to be applied against them,” he said.

Reported by Collins Omulo