Opposition leader Raila Odinga has declared he would form a ‘people’s assembly’ to pressure the government to accede to his demands. But Raila, speaking almost 24 hours after President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto were declared winners of the just -concluded fresh presidential poll, did not say whether he would challenge the victory at the Supreme Court.
Raila, who had promised his Nasa supporters he would make a major declaration, said the proposed assembly would include elected leaders, who would sit with citizens to advance democracy, constitutionalism and the rule of law.
But he did not say where the assembly would sit or when, only saying that a programme of action would be made public. At the same time, Raila said he was not opposed to dialogue with President Uhuru Kenyatta. “We are not opposed to dialogue,” he said, without elaborating or uttering a condition.
After he received the winner’s certificate the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati on Monday evening, President-Elect Uhuru Kenyatta said he could not comment on calls for dialogue until his election passes all constitutional stages, which could include a petition at the Supreme Court.
Raila repeated his earlier announcement that Nasa would operate with two wings, the parliamentary group and the national resistance movement. But he added that the resistance wing would only engage in civil disobedience, economic boycott and other pressure against the government.
The formation of a resistance movement has drawn Nasa flak from Jubilee politicians who argue that it is akin to a rebel movement. Rejecting President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory, Raila said the proposed people’s assembly would make recommendations and pass them to the county assemblies for approval.
But the Nasa leader did not explain how such an assembly would gain constitutional mandate, or how it would impose its will on the devolved governments. Raila again insisted that election had not been constitutionally conducted and demanded a repeat.
“We in Nasa shall see to it that we conduct a free, fair and credible presidential election as ordered by the Supreme Court,” he added. The just ended election was as a result of a successful petition filed by Raila which led to the quashing of the August 8 presidential election and an order by the Supreme Court to hold a fresh poll within 60 days.
“The People’s Assembly is the vehicle through which we will exercise the solemn duty of restoring democracy, constitutionalism and the rule of law,” he said at Okoa Kenya offices yesterday. “Governments are not above constitutions and constitutions are not above the people. The people retain ownership of sovereign power.
This is the reason why all progressive constitutions reserve the right to exercise their sovereignty directly,” he added seeming to allude to the lack of constitutional anchorage of his proposal for a people’s assembly. He said the assembly would be a broad-based forum consisting of elected leaders and the leadership of other sectors of society.
Raila also said Nasa would form a taskforce to look into the “political architecture and structure” of the Executive and Legislative arms of government “as well as for protection and safeguarding devolution”.
He, however did not directly call for protests, perhaps in light of the ongoing Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam and the subsequent Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam which commence proper on Monday.
The Opposition leader did not specify how he will frustrate the economy, having indicated in an earlier press briefing that he will urge his supporters to shun certain consumer products and services. Nasa pulled out of the repeat race earlier in October, after claiming opposition demands to overhaul the country’s electoral body had not been met.
But the presidential candidate declined to sign the requisite IEBC Form 24A, leaving the electoral agency no option but to include his name on the ballot alongside the other seven contenders.