NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 14 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has told of his own tribulations under ‘dark forces’ saying how he resisted pressure from key advisers who had arranged to have him sworn in as president following the disputed 2007 elections.
Odinga told a section of church leaders on Monday that he only resisted after the Lord spoke to him, following pressure a section of leaders in his party who had even identified a judge who was ready to swear him in before the then incumbent Mwai Kibaki could take the oath.
Apparently, the ODM hardliners were also prepared to conduct an alternate swearing in ceremony for Odinga, even after it emerged that Kibaki had been sworn in at State House Nairobi. But he said that would have likened Kenya to Madagascar when two contending presidential candidates were declared as President.
“When I met with this friend, his first words were ‘congratulations; you have won the elections!’ The bad news now is that the President is going to be sworn in for a second term in office,” the premier stated.
“You have a choice of working together with the President and then biding your time for the next opportunity or resisting or there will be bloodshed.”
Speaking during a breakfast meeting with a section of church leaders, the PM said he asked the advisors to give him a day to reflect, where after he reached a decision to decline.
“Then the reaction here was that we cannot accept it, we have to resist it, let us go the Madagascar way and very quickly, a judge was found who would have agreed to have sworn me as the president so that there would be two parallel presidencies,” he said.
“Something in me said this is not right; that this would divide the nation permanently. So I went and reflected on it and the Lord spoke to me and I decided not to go through with it.”
The Prime Minister further called on Kenyans to maintain peace during this electioneering period and avoid actions that can trigger violence as witnessed after the 2007 polls.
He said it was the duty of every Kenyan of good will to preach peace so that all the 42 ethnic communities in the country co-exist harmoniously to enable the country move forward.
Odinga who is also the presidential flag bearer for the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) noted that the coming polls will be a game changer and promised Kenyans that he will implement every undertaking he makes during his campaigns.
“Our word is our bond – we will do what we have said and say what we will do,” he said. “We will not come up with excuses and say no it’s the devil the way others have done.”
He revealed that soon, the CORD alliance will release its manifesto that contains a raft of commitments that the coalition intends to implements when it comes to power.
The PM thanked the church for preaching peace, tolerance among Kenyans and for remaining the conscience of the society; and assured the clergy that his government will work closely with religious leaders to transform the country.
“We need our religious leaders working shoulder to shoulder with the government for us to achieve the Kenyan dream,” he said.
The PM lauded the meeting with the clergy as an opportunity for the CORD team to partner with the church and read from the same script with church leaders.
He also warned politicians against fanning tribalism noting that the era of ethnic chauvinism and balkanization of the country is over.
“The time for tribal politics is over- there should be no more dividing of Kenyans along ethnic lines,” he warned.