Kenya: Odinga Was Sworn in Once Before Uhuru Park Event, Says Miguna

Miguna Miguna (left) puts pen to paper during Raila Odinga's swearing in as the people's president at Uhuru Park, Nairobi (file photo).

Opposition leader Raila Odinga was privately sworn in at least once before the January 30, 2018 ceremony at Uhuru Park, firebrand lawyer and politician Miguna Miguna has revealed.

Dr Miguna on Wednesday said the National Resistance Movement (NRM) had already attempted to swear him in four times on different occasions in Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kilifi.

"We swore him in four times before the Uhuru Park event. The first one was supposed to be done from Mr Wanjingi's house. It was to be recorded and beamed live to the world, without revealing our location," he told Citizen TV in Washington, DC.

However, that attempt misfired after the opposition chief abruptly decided to postpone it.

JIMMY WANJIGI

Mr Odinga had been scheduled for the swearing in at Jimmy Wanjigi's house but he changed his mind shortly before the event.

Dr Miguna said Mr Odinga came late to the venue and left shortly after telling the assembled group that Mr Musalia Mudavadi and Mr Moses Wetang'ula had asked for more time and would not be attending the event.

"Mr Odinga came late, played (psychological) games with us, said he had spoken with Mudavadi and Wetang'ula, and left. In a short time, we saw Prof Kibwana address the press to say it [had been] postponed. From the speed at which it was done, Prof Kibwana could not have hurriedly come from Makueni to convene the press briefing, so it is clear that Mr Odinga developed cold feet," said the fiery lawyer.

"The second one was in Kilifi, at the people's assembly. He called me and said that Mr James Orengo had told him that I had given up on the idea. He said he wanted me to go and swear him in because the women there were wild and wanted him sworn in immediately," said Dr Miguna.

JOHO'S BETRAYAL

He accused Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho of betraying the NRM's cause by alerting police about the vehicle he was going to use to access the Mombasa swearing-in venue.

"I took a taxi from my house and then boarded a flight to Wilson Airport. There was heavy police presence all the way towards the venue. Police officers were all over the route, right from the airport. Joho claimed he had sent a vehicle to pick me, but he had informed the police which vehicle it was. When we reached Mtwapa, police blocked traffic to prevent us from proceeding to our destination," Dr Miguna said.

"We then swore him in at Mr Odinga's residence on Sunday, January 28, and that is when we invited people like Kajwang to spectate. Until that day, Mr Kajwang had never been part of the discussions or the process around the event.

CEREMONY RECORDED

"The ceremony was done in case we were prevented for some reason from carrying out the Uhuru Park event. I was standing at his right side, Mr Orengo was on his left side, and the event was recorded by a Masaai video journalist for Nasa TV, which is run by Mr Odinga's son," said Dr Miguna.

On January 30, Dr Miguna said, other Nasa co-principals did not attend the event "because of fear or cowardice". They had gone to Homa Bay days before the event and had sworn to die before surrendering. But when push came to shove, they chickened out, he said.

He said that Mr Mudavadi had indicated in a conversation before the event that he was "a conservative who believed in the system and would therefore not attend the event".

Referring to the multiple postponements before the event, Dr Miguna attributed them to the unwillingness of interested parties to participate.

SEVERAL POSTPONEMENTS

"There were many postponements because the people Mr Odinga had approached to swear him in refused to do it. Mr Orengo had told us he would get us a retired judge to do it, but later told us the judicial officer had declined to participate," said Dr Miguna.

"Contrary to what some people may say or believe, I founded the NRM. We formed a think tank immediately after the election, known as The Final Stand. I recruited thinkers and strategists like Dr David Ndii, Dr Abubakar Zain, Dr Wandia Njoya, lawyer Waikwa Wanyoike and others. I was doing this for electoral justice. We were determined to stop politicians in the Uhuru, Ruto and Raila group and others in future from perpetuating impunity," he said.

STRATEGY

Dr Miguna said the group's strategy consisted of two methods, which were forming a people's assembly to form a government at the grassroots and a liberation movement to press for the removal of President Uhuru Kenyatta from power.

"Our strategy was two-pronged. We mobilised people through the people's assembly as a show of disaffection and make the people politically conscious (in order) to liberate them. The second part of the strategy was to form a liberation movement to free the country. Kenya is not liberated because we only got flags and ornaments at independence," said Dr Miguna.

He accused Mr Odinga of being unwilling to take part in the ceremony.

"Raila was initially not in favour of the ceremony. Months before, Adama Barrow had won the Gambian election but President Yahya Jammeh refused to concede. Mr Alassane Ouattara had won the Ivorian election, but Laurent Gbagbo refused to concede.

TALK TO MAGUFULI

"We asked him (Raila) to talk to Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli and that of Ghana, who are his friends, to assist him in the quest for the presidency. I also asked him to form a cabinet and send his representatives to the United Nations and the African Union," he said.

"I told him we can do it at Uhuru Park, or any other place, provided we have a large crowd, because police cannot kill such a large group," added Dr Miguna.

Dr Miguna said the team called President Magufuli to explain their reasons for going ahead with the ceremony despite his reservations about the move.

"We went to Muthama's resort with him and Raila, who then called Orengo. When Orengo picked up, he put him through to Magufuli to explain why we are insisting on holding the ceremony and why the Tanzanian leader believed we should not go ahead with it," he said.

He said he did not regret the actions he took and would still repeat them today because he believes that it is a crime to impose a leader on the Kenyan people.

"I believed it would be a crime to impose leaders on the people and invalidate their votes," said Dr Miguna.

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