Elections 2017NATIONALNEWS

I’ll be sworn in on January 30, Raila reiterates

Nasa leader Rala Odinga yesterday assured his supporters he would be sworn in on January 30 as the ‘people’s president’.

The Opposition leader, who has been under pressure from his supporters to take the oath, vowed he would not be cowed by threats of treason charges, saying he has overcome a similar charge before.

“We’ve a timetable of doing things. There will be no further changes to the January 30 date,” said Raila.

His remarks come a day after Organising Committee of the People’s Assembly member Oduor Ong’wen told journalists that an Assumption of Office Committee was in place and working on a roadmap that will culminate in the much-touted inauguration of Raila and Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka as ‘people’s president’ and deputy president, respectively.

“We can assure Kenyans that definitely it is not going to be done later than the end of this month, but the committee will reveal the full programme,” he said.

And yesterday, Raila reiterated that he was ready to pay the ultimate price to reform electoral and judicial system, enhance policing and devolution in the country.

Speaking at a Kakamega hotel during a forum to launch the regional Peoples’ Assembly, Raila said the Constitution needs to be amended to ensure the elections system guarantee justice. He slammed the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), saying it had lost credibility. 

The Opposition chief also proposed legislative changes to protect judicial officers from intimidation by the Executive to strengthen the institution’s independence.

“ We want the presidential powers reduced considerably and devolution strengthened to reduce competition for the seat,” said Raila.

Electoral justice

He was accompanied by Nasa co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula, senators George Khaniri (Vihiga) and Cleophas Malala (Kakamega) and several MPs from the region.

Earlier, Mudavadi said although Kenyans are hurting as a result of a disputed presidential election, was pursuit for electoral justice, spearheaded by Raila, offered them hope. 

He warned police officers who allegedly terrorised Nasa supporters last year that they would not get away scot-free as Nasa had directed its lawyers to collect evidence against them for prosecution.

Kalonzo said the country was in an “intolerable situation” that calls for genuine dialogue to resolve.

As opposed to rushed swearing-in, Kalonzo vouched for a set of actions and consultations to build consensus and the momentum culminating in the ceremony.

Earlier before the forum kicked off, Raila celebrated his 73rd birthday in Kakamega, with a group of women under the aegis of “Daughters of  Raila”, led by Busia Women’s Representative Florence Mutua, presented the Opposition leader with a birthday cake and card.

Kenyans on social media also wished the Nasa leader well.

Heed calls

“I have been overwhelmed by the huge number of warm birthday wishes which have filled me with immense joy. I thank the Almighty for seeing me through thus far,”said Raila.

Delegates at the event also gave him a Bible as a gift, and they cheered him on and asked him to take his oath using the Bible.

The gift was presented by Malala on behalf of MPs and senators.

“Kenyans are tired and Raila is wasting our time. We want him to take an oath now,” said Khaniri.

Most speakers at the meeting urged Raila to heed calls for him to take oath as the ‘people’s president’.

Nasa principals weekend tour of Busia and Kakamega counties, where People’s Assembly gatherings were held, were part of the conventions to push for Raila’s swearing in.

The inaugural convention was held in Mombasa and Kilifi counties last December as the coalition pushes with the people-driven initiative to ensure electoral justice and self-determination in the country.

“In Kilifi, we experienced first-hand the outpouring of emotions and resolve of the people. The other regions will convene similar forums. The end result will be the inaugural National People’s Convention at a date the people themselves shall decide,” said Ong’wen.

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