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Uhuru, Odinga in a political stalemate    


Uhuru, Odinga in a political stalemate    

Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga

Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga

When Raila Amolo Odinga recently performed his “mock” swearing-in ceremony as Kenya’s “People’s President”, he did so hurriedly – in less than 20 minutes.  Moreover, his vice-presidential running-mate, Kalonzo Musyoka, was unexplainably absent; and so were a coterie of his closest National Super Alliance (NASA) comrades.

A day later, the opposition leader, Magina Magina, that Odinga brought in place of the chief  justice to swear him in, was arrested for carrying out a “treasonable act”. Magina has now been deported to Canada. Interestingly, Odinga himself was not arrested for the charge; and so far he is free to go about his duties.

Let us recapitulate, somewhat. After the August 2017 presidential elections, Odinga went to court contesting Uhuru Kenyatta’s win on the basis of illegalities and irregularities performed by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), chaired by Ezra Chiloba.

The Supreme Court coram, headed by Chief Justice David Makara, ruled in Odinga’s favour, annulled the poll and ordered a re-run. This was a massive electoral democracy for any Africa country and gave Kenya kudos for it.

Odinga demanded that IEBC be re-constituted to remove the officials who had been responsible for the poll malpractices. Kenyatta did not oblige; instead Chiloba stepped aside but left the Executive Director, Wafula Chebukati, in place. Despite the resignation of one of the IEBC commissioners, Kenyatta did not reform the commission. Earlier on, even the court did not see it fir to order the reform of IEBC.

Prior to the re-run and after, Odinga did not go to court to have, either the IEBC re-constituted to his objections, nor did he go to court to challenge the results of the re-run. Instead, Odinga ordered his followers not to participate in the re-run of the presidential poll, which to all intents and purposes, was successful.

In the re-rerun of the poll, less that 35 percent of the electorate participated; and of those, 33.3% voted for Kenyatta. That translated to 98% of the win for him. Constitutionally, the 68% of the electorate that heeded Odinga’s action to keep away from the poll were legally ruled out of the participation.

It made Odinga to assume that he had been right all along: he may have been politically correct, but by law his was an illegitimate position and was therefore not considered in the number of the electorate that turned out to vote.

However, it is this position, that Odinga holds as vindicating him for the failure to reconstitute the IEBC. That aside, had Odinga participated in the re-run, and assuming that his NASA adherents had voted nearly as much as they later kept away from the poll, the reasonable assumption to make is that Odinga would have won the presidency by  the majority 50%+1.

For him to come out now to claim that he has been rigged out is for him to admit that he did not go the whole hog to challenge the legality of the Constitution in declaring that, a minority of the electorate that register, is the majority of the people who wanted to vote.

Moreover, Odinga let his name be include in the candidate roster for the re-run which he should have gone to court to have removed in the event. That he allowed Chebukati to “double cross” him in this manner has showed that he may have listened to improper advice from his NASA coterie.

Be that as it may, the inability for Uhuru to hold Odinga to treasonable behaviour, perhaps indicates to a legal shortcoming on his own part. It is rumoured that, the real reason he cannot hold Odinga likewise is that, even in his (Kenyatta’s) swearing-in as Kenya’s president, he did not have and display the insignia of the presidency which is a legal requirement for the office.

That Kenyatta had actually inappropriately let some other person get the insignia, which has inexplicably ended in Odinga’s possession. This compromises Kenyatta’s efficacy as president.

Besides, he can no longer count on the support of his vice president, William Ruto, who it is alleged, he used to exclusively financially rely upon. In this scenario, Kenyatta has been unable to access his family wealth, which had passed on to his late sister, Margaret Kenyatta, which also has now passed to his nephews and nieces.

This is Kenyatta’s last and final term as president. For all this, he is still beholden to former president, Daniel Toroitich arap Moi, for having rescued him from the drug-ridden slums of Chicago, Illinois, USA; and launched him to the preidency. In this arrangement, Kenyatta has had to allegedly agree that the leadership of the Jubilee party will pass on to Moi’s son, Gideon Moi.

This is at the intense displeasure of Ruto, who has often seen himself as the next Jubilee successor and most likely Kenya’s president after the next presidential election, five years hence. It is said that Ruto is in the process of switching sides to Odinga’s NASA. This has put Kenyatta in a political bind and the badly divided Kenya in limbo.



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Ikebesi Omoding is the acclaimed author of a weekly column titled: From the Outside Looking In

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