Saturday, January 27, 2018

Jubilee ‘Disinterest’ in Nasa Event May Be a Decoy
Kenya Daily Nation

Jubilee Party vice chairman David Murathe attends a thematic briefing session on the 19th National Congress of Communist Party of China at Laico Regency in Nairobi on January 25, 2018. He has said the plan to swear in Raila Odinga as president is a non-issue. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Summary
Head of the Anglican Church Jackson ole Sapit has opposed the planned ceremony warning it would create unrest in the country.
Mr Murathe says Jubilee has only cautioned against the plan because it is illegal but there is no anxiety about it.


While Jubilee government is on the outward dismissive of the planned swearing-in of Nasa leaders Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka as president and deputy president respectively, there is silent yet massive security mobilisation that could see a number of high flying opposition figures arrested before the D-day.

On Thursday, the Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet met heads of formations and county commanders at the School of Government in Nairobi to specifically draw up a strategy on how to deal with the event expected to attract many opposition supporters.

Equally, a source at the Interior ministry, who spoke in confidence, told the Sunday Nation there are fears the police could be gearing up to conduct massive arrests on the eve of the event with the intention to scuttle the whole process.


Other than Nairobi, police are on high alert in Kisumu, Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia and Mombasa, which are likely to offer alternative venue for the oath taking should Nairobi’s Uhuru Park, the earmarked venue, be cordoned off like the county government has already indicated.

Nyanza Regional Coordinator Willy Njega said that whereas he would not comment on their security operations, they were ready to maintain law and order.

“Our officers are always prepared to thwart any lawlessness that arise in the region.

"For that reason I can only say we are ready to maintain law and order,” Mr Njega said.


There have been reports that the National Police Service had started deploying police – majority undercover - to counties in Nyanza ahead of the planed ceremony.

A source told the Sunday Nation that a select group of foreign envoys in Nairobi were on Friday briefed by top government officials about the opposition’s plans but were given assurances that all was well since security officials were on high alert.

“The silence by both the President and his deputy William Ruto does not mean that they are doing nothing about the January 30 event. In fact, Nasa will be in for a shock,” the source referring to the closed door deliberations said.


But downplaying the event, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s closest ally David Murathe now wants opposition leaders to go ahead with their swearing-in on Tuesday “so that we put behind us this endless and meaningless threats”.

A staunch supporter of Mr Kenyatta since 1997 and harsh critic of the National Super Alliance (Nasa), the one-time Gatanga MP now says the Jubilee Party is not concerned by the planned oath of Mr Raila Odinga and Mr Kalonzo Musyoka.

“We are not bothered at all by their actions and if you have noticed, at no point has the President and Deputy President pronounced themselves on this circus.”

But his sentiments go against recent events that indicate concerted efforts to stop the event slated for Tuesday.


And as the clock ticks away to D-Day, Attorney General Githu Muigai has threatened the Nasa pair with a treason charge, which attracts death penalty, as several law suits filed in court to stop the swearing-in also remain pending.

Head of the Anglican Church Jackson ole Sapit has opposed the planned ceremony warning it would create unrest in the country.

“The law is very clear that this country be run by one President at every period of five years.

"There is no room in the Constitution for parallel power. Let our brothers in the opposition follow the law,” Mr Sapit said.


Nairobi’s Uhuru Park, the designated venue for the swearing-in, has also been abruptly closed down by the county government for “renovation”.

But why is the Jubilee government keen to ensure the event does not happen despite some of its leaders indicating in public that they were disinterested? 

Mr Onyango Oloo, a former ally of President Kenyatta’s and now Kisumu County Speaker, believes the government is panicking as it is uncertain on the aftermath of the oath.

“A government is one that is democratically elected by the people and for the people.

"But here we have a scenario where Raila has assembled the people who have decided to withdraw their sovereign will and support for the central government. Who would not be afraid of such a move? I understand the restlessness,” Mr Oloo said.


However, Mr Murathe says Jubilee has only cautioned against the plan because it is illegal but there is no anxiety about it.

On moves by Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria and other groups, including the so-called Nairobi Business Community, to stop the ceremony, the former MP says those are individual initiatives.

The self-styled business community and Mr Kuria also seemed to have been sending a loaded ethnic identity statement by saying they are organising a circumcision clinic at Uhuru Park on that day.

The rite has for decades been used as a divisive political issue against communities that do not practice it.

Mr Oloo claims it is a desperate move to portray Nasa as a one-tribe outfit.   


Mr Oloo adds: “Philosophically and legally, the President and his deputy are obviously a worried lot, and that is why they are trying all tricks in the book, including legal means, to stop the swearing-in of our (Nasa) leaders.”

But Mr Murathe explains that President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto are only concerned that the intentions of Nasa could be disruptive “since one only requires a small act to spark off a dangerous political confrontation”.

“The only challenge, though, is the climate of uncertainty and anxiety, which Nasa is creating. No self-respecting government can watch helplessly as our economy is destabilised by a people keen at fomenting a revolution,” Mr Murathe charged.


Meanwhile, Maendeleo Chap Chap Party leader and Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua has expressed concern over the scheduled swearing-in terming it a recipe for violence.

Dr Mutua said that the country cannot have two presidents as this was “bad for the nation”.

Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi believes the former Prime Minister should be allowed to proceed with his swearing-in and Jubilee politicians should stop giving the event “undue prominence” by commenting on it. 

“Let Raila be sworn in. We want to see where he will go.

"At least when Uhuru (President Kenyatta) was sworn in (on November 28 last year) he went to State House.

"The State House is now occupied, kwa hivyo wacha polisi wamulinde, awe sworn-in na baadaye asindikizwe hadi nyumbani kwake, halafu mambo imalizikie hapo (let the police provide him with security in order that he is sworn in and thereafter be escorted to his home, and bring this matter to an end),” Mr Murungi said last weekend.


However, Jubilee politicians have lately been dancing to a different tune, threatening Nasa leaders with unspecified action if they dared proceed with the swearing-in.

Only last weekend, Mr Murathe led a group of legislators into warning the Nasa leaders against the plan.

The AG issued the initial warning to Nasa, stating that any attempts to swear in Mr Odinga as President, outside the confines of the Constitution, amounted to “high treason” that attracts the death penalty.

Prof Muigai has also challenged in court the legality of formatting People’s Assemblies by Nasa-controlled County Assemblies.


Former Mwingi Central MP Joe Mutambu, who unsuccessfully defended his seat on a Jubilee ticket in last year’s elections, is similarly in court seeking temporary orders restraining Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka from being sworn in.

Mr Mutambu, one of Jubilee’s lead campaigners in the Ukambani region, states that Article 3(2) of the Constitution is against establishing a government contrary to the law.

The Bunge La Mwananchi lobby group, through Henry Shitanda and David Oyola, is also in court to stop the event.

Historian, Prof Macharia Munene, observes that the state cannot afford to ignore political manoeuvres of its greatest critic:

“While the swearing-in plan appears hollow on the surface, it has all the potential of causing commotion and instability. That is why the government must arrest the situation.”

Additional reporting by Shaban Makokha and Justus Ochieng

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