Kenya's opposition leader Raila Odinga now says he will take oath as people’s president “very early in the New Year”.
If it came to it, Mr Odinga said, the National Super Alliance (Nasa) will call for self-determination— in what might mean an escalation of the secession talks— in a further escalation with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government.
The government has warned that Mr Odinga risks death for treason if he does swear himself in.
In a Christmas message sent to newsrooms, Mr Odinga warned that Kenya was fast hurtling towards dictatorship, and asked his supporters to join him in resisting such a move.
“As we usher in 2018,” Mr Odinga said, “we are called upon to choose between resigning ourselves to dictatorship, to accept and move on, or to stand up for what we believe in.”
The former prime minister said: “We are called upon to accept that there is political hierarchy of communities in this country, the rulers and the ruled, or to affirm our dignity as equal citizens and to invoke our inalienable human right to self-determination if we must.”
He said after postponing a planned swearing-in on Kenya’s Independence Day to the chagrin of many of his supporters, President Kenyatta’s government, instead of showing goodwill for dialogue, had put all its logs for a further entrenchment of a dictatorial regime.
This status quo, he said, must be uprooted, and warned his supporters that the administration will not cooperate in its uprooting, but it must be done, anyway.
And the swearing-in, he said, must happen.
“We promise you that you can now look forward confidently to our swearing-in ceremony very early in the New Year,” he said in the statement sent to newsrooms on Christmas Eve.
“We cannot and shall not go back to dictatorship.”
On Saturday, Mr Odinga’s team had promised to release a programme of the swearing-in today (Sunday).
In the statement, Mr Odinga said that President Kenyatta had lost the plot and had started calling for talks on development, and not politics— a scenario the Nasa chief called “development worship” and claimed it was started by Uhuru’s father Jomo Kenyatta.
That, the Nasa leader said, cannot work.
“It is the opium that successive regimes have used to anaesthetise the people so as to take away their political rights, dispossess them of their land, rob them blind in government, and exploit them ruthlessly in the market place,” he said.
The Christmas story, Mr Odinga said, reminded Kenyans of cruel leaders have inflicted needless pain and suffering on people, like King Herod was doing at the time of Jesus.
“Such leaders live in fear of the people,” he said, explaining, “When King Herod heard that another king had been born, he sent soldiers to hunt him down and kill him. The mighty king was afraid of being overthrown by a baby. He lived in fear of the people.”
But such cruel leaders, he said, do not live for long.
“The message of Christmas therefore implores us to arm ourselves with faith, hope and the courage of our convictions. We too shall overcome and we have a clear programme to victory,” he said.
Mr Odinga reiterated his message that the West had turned a blind eye on the atrocities committed by dictatorial regimes in the world, in a clear shift of policy, that he said had loved their interests more, than entrenching democracy.
The ODM party leader had last month accused foreign envoys of supporting a bad electoral process, even in the face of irrefutable evidence of fraud, or incapacity to deliver a credible process.
“We end 2017 a deeply divided people. We are divided between those who have rallied behind the leadership that wants to take us back to the dictatorship and those who believe that democracy and rule of law portend a brighter future for us all,” Mr Odinga said.
Kenya was divided, he further argued, by historical injustices, between those who believe that the truth will set us free, and those who fear the truth.