Kenya: What to Expect Today in Nasa 'Oath' Ceremony At Uhuru Park

Nasa leader Raila Odinga holds up a bible during a meeting held at Machakos Golf Club on January 19, 2018.
30 January 2018

Details of the order of events during the planned "swearing-in" today of opposition leader Raila Odinga and his running mate in the August 2017 election Kalonzo Musyoka have emerged even as police warned of dire consequences if the ceremony goes on.

According to a tentative schedule seen by Daily Nation, the public is expected to be at Uhuru Park by 8:30am ready for the ceremony that organisers say will end by 1pm.

The coalition's governors, MPs and other invited guests will be seated by 9am with Nasa principals expected to make a grand entry into the Park grounds at 10am.


Nasa's ceremony is not a formal assumption of power because it is being done outside the law.

Mr Odinga did not win the election, although Nasa now claims to have results which shows he won by 200,000 votes.

That too is a moot point since the August 8 presidential election was nullified by the Supreme Court and Mr Odinga did not take part in the October 26 fresh election.

It emerged Monday that after the arrival of Nasa leaders at 10am, there will be a short speech by one of the selected members of the people's assembly before Mr Odinga takes the "oath," followed by Mr Musyoka.


The plan, according to one of the coordinators of the people's assemblies, but who could not be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, is to have only Mr Odinga make a speech in which he will detail the way forward for the coalition.

The team that was unveiled by the opposition in December 2017 to coordinate the people's assemblies include economist David Ndii, former senator Judith Sijeny, Oduor Ong'wen, Mutakha Kangu, Peter Mathuki, Hamida Kibwana and Koitamet ole Kina.

"The assumption to the office team wants only Mr Odinga to deliver the speech. Everything is in place," said a source well-versed with Tuesday's events.

He said they already have a qualified judge who will administer the oath.

However, who exactly this is remains a high level secret within the opposition circles as none of the senior members was willing to discuss it.

Attorney General Githu Muigai has said that anyone swearing in Mr Odinga would be committing a treasonable act, which could attract death penalty, a statement the opposition has dismissed.


The National Super Alliance politicians were also tight-lipped on what will happen next after the oath, with National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi only saying it will be communicated by Mr Odinga in his "acceptance speech."

"Our leader will set the agenda for our supporters today in his speech. I cannot do that for him at the moment," Mr Mbadi said.

ODM National Youth President John Ketora also confirmed plans for the event were complete.

"We have finalised the arrangements and we are all set to swear in our president," he said, while cautioning the police against confronting Nasa supporters.


"We have endured a lot. The people have reached a point where they have had enough. We are going to swear in our president and we plead with the police to steer clear of the event," he added.

Tuesday's ceremony is largely a protest by Mr Odinga who believes he won the August 8 election, whose results were nullified by the Supreme Court.

He went ahead to boycott a fresh election held on October 26, 2017 citing unwillingness by the government to even the playing field and refused to recognise the win by his competitor President Uhuru Kenyatta in the repeat poll.

On Friday, Nasa upped the stakes by announcing its own "results" which indicated Mr Odinga had won the August 8 election with 8.1 million votes against President Kenyatta's 7.8 million.


Responding to a question as to why they were planning to swear in Mr Odinga on results that had been nullified, Siaya senator James Orengo claimed only the winner, and not the results of the August 7 election, was overturned by the September 1 Supreme Court ruling.

The Constitution provides in Article 141 that the President should be sworn in by the Judiciary registrar in public and in the presence of the Chief Justice, or in his absence, the Deputy Chief Justice.

Under the Assumption of the Office of President Act, the swearing-in should take place in Nairobi on a date and at a place to be designated by the committee that oversees the process and published in the Kenya Gazette.

It should take place between 10am and 2pm.


Although it is not stated in the law, State House has always remained as the official residence of the President, hence the question as to where Mr Odinga would live as a "people's president".

Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo Monday said the 'swearing-in' is important especially to the people who did not take part in the repeat elections.

"It is a fact that two-thirds of the people in this country don't recognise Mr Uhuru Kenyatta as the president but recognise Mr Raila Odinga as their president hence the reason why he must be sworn in," Mr Otiende said.


Nasa Chief Executive Officer Norman Magaya said they expect all their supporters, some of whom have travelled from different counties, to be seated by 8:30am as they await the next step.

But even as they spoke, tension was high Monday with many fearing violence and a lockdown in the city after both the police and the opposition hardened their positions on the unprecedented move by the opposition to "swear themselves into office."

Five people were killed in November 2017 in a violent confrontation between police and supporters of Mr Odinga who had turned out in large numbers to welcome him back into the country after a long tour of the US.

The opposition has maintained it will continue with its plans despite a warning from Nairobi County Police Boss Japheth Koome.

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