, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 18 – National Super Alliance (NASA) leader Raila Odinga has said he is ready to be sworn-in as the People’s President even if it means doing so from exile.
Odinga told the Voice of America on Tuesday that plans to have him installed as the leader of the People’s Assembly on January 30 will not be shelved insisting that his alliance will continue to lead a defiance campaign against President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government.
The People’s Assembly was constituted by NASA to lead a nationwide civil disobedience campaign under the alliance’s National Resistance Movement (NRM).
“My being sworn-in is a statement that an illegitimate government is in office and the legitimate government elected by the people is not in office,” he told VoA’s Kennedy Wandera.
“We will work like a government and appoint ministers even if we have to run the government in exile,” Odinga explained.
He said he will not be dissuaded by western powers including the United States of America stating that the country was free to make independent decisions without the involvement of western nations.
“They (US) are our friends and they are free to advise us but we cannot be forced. We shall do what we want to do,” Odinga said.
He has had several meetings with foreign envoys since the swearing in of President Kenyatta on November 28 but no progress has been reported.
US Ambassador Bob Godec who has been a leading crusader in calling for a political ceasefire between Odinga’s NASA and the ruling Jubilee Party was on January 9 forced to come clean on reports that he was pushing for a unity government to calm political tension in the country.
“Media reports that Ambassador Bob Godec asked for a unity government are wrong. US continues to be committed to a National Conversation involving all Kenyans to build national unity, address long-standing issues and resolve divisions exacerbated by 2017 elections,” Godec’s office tweeted amid speculation that President Kenyatta’s partial naming of the Cabinet on January 5 was to provide room for Opposition-allied politicians to be considered for ministerial posts.
In his interview with VoA, Odinga maintained that NASA was not violating the Constitution by planning his coronation.
“We’re not breaking the law. It is Jubilee who are breaking the law by setting up an illegitimate movement which the Supreme Court tried to justify by upholding its election,” he charged.
Asked about the possibility of chaos erupting as a result of his swearing in, Odinga said his supporters will maintain peace urging security services to keep off his inauguration event.
“The decision not to have chaos and killings lies with the government. Our supporters are peaceful people and they will converge for the inauguration at Uhuru Park peacefully,” the long-serving opposition leader remarked.
“If they think my swearing is in breach of the Constitution, they are free to arrest me,” Odinga said.
Odinga’s interview came ahead of a resolution by NASA lawmakers on Wednesday recognizing their leader as President and Kalonzo Musyoka, his running mate in last year’s presidential elections, as Deputy President.
Led by Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala, the NASA leaders denounced Kenyatta’s administration.
“As a matter of fact, we recognize His Excellency, the Rt Hon Raila Odinga as the bonafide President of the Republic of Kenya with His Excellency, Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka as his Deputy,” the leaders said in a statement.
“To this effect, each one of us has signed a legal instrument binding us to this resolution. We remain on course in our journey to have the truly elected leaders of our Republic sworn in,” the statement further read.
The decision to inaugurate Odinga has however been condemned by the government, Prof Githu Muigai, its chief legal advisor terming the move as treasonous.
“Any attempts to swear in any person as president other than the one elected in line with the constitution and in a manner provided for in the law is unlawful, illegal null and void ab initio,” the Attorney General said earlier in the week.
Thirdway Alliance party has termed the plans treasonous and a violation of Article 3 (2) of the Constitution.
“Any attempt to establish a government otherwise than in compliance with this Constitution is unlawful,” party leader, Ekuru Aukot said on Tuesday, quoting Article 3 (2).
Aukot who came in third behind President Kenyatta and Odinga in the October 26 presidential election said he was going to play the role of an official opposition leader citing Odinga’s failure to take up the role.
He promised to constitute a shadow Cabinet to keep President Kenyatta’s government in check.