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As Raila is sworn in, focus turns to his fate

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National Super Alliance (NASA) leader Raila Odinga declared “enough is enough to rigging in Kenya” as he defied a government clampdown on the media to be sworn in as the “People’s President.”

“A people united can never be defeated,” said Raila after taking the oath at a packed Uhuru Park grounds in Nairobi as the crowd chanted in return.

Co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka, who was supposed to be sworn in alongside Raila, was conspicuously absent but the NASA leader said he will take his oath later, adding he was still firmly in the opposition formation. Other NASA principals Moses Wetang’ula and Musalia Mudavadi as well as several legislators were also absent.

Thousands of NASA supporters from various parts of the country, most of whom arrived in busloads, had thronged the Uhuru Park grounds early in the morning and braved the scorching sun awaiting for the arrival of Raila.

Raila made brief remarks after taking the “oath” and said a detailed statement on what would ensue after the event would be issued to the media later.

RELATED: Raila turns virgin after taking oath

MPs present included  Rangwe MP Lilian Gogo, Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang’, MPs Elisha Odhiambo (Gem), National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi (Suba South), Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga and Kisumu Woman Representative Rosa Buyu.

Ruaraka MP TJ Kajwang, who was dressed in a judicial wig, and lawyer Miguna Miguna administered the “oath.”

Jubilee supporters dismissed the “oath” taking as a sham. Some analysts said the ceremony did not conform to the Assumption of the Office of President Act and the Constitution.

It was apparent that Raila was keen to protect his credibility as his absence would have disappointed his supporters.

Despite a warning by Nairobi police boss Japeth Koome that Uhuru Park would be out of bounds, security officers did not interfere with the ceremony save for a brief confrontation at the Kenyatta Avenue/Uhuru Highway roundabout when NASA supporters destroyed a billboard showing President Uhuru is the President of Kenya.

Legal opinion is, however, divided on the implication of Raila’s swearing-in.

While the Attorney General Githu Muigai had declared it as an act of high treason, Law Society of Kenya President Isaac Okero says there is nothing criminal about it since even if he is sworn in he would not assume the office of President, which is constitutionally held by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“The criminal law of the Republic of Kenya stipulates that this sort of process is high treason. It is high treason of the persons involved and any other person facilitating that process,” Githu told the press on December 7 when Nasa announced Raila and Kalonzo would be sworn in on Jamhuri Day.

But Okero differs: “Any citizen can decide to swear in himself as President and call his or her local priest. How is that treasonous? It would have no legal effect. We know what the legal requirement for an effective act of the assumption of the Office of the President requires: If a citizen undertakes a process that has none of those underpinnings it will have no legal effect. Whoever is talking of treason may just be looking to make a mountain out of a molehill, but there is certainly going to be a political statement being made,” he opined in a local daily.

READ: TV shutdown: How the media dug its own grave

Okero added that the determination of determination of Petition Nos. 2 and 4 of 2017, which were challenging the outcome of the October 26 fresh election, by the Supreme Court of Kenya marked the close of the 2017 electoral process in Kenya.

Other critics says the term President is now liberally used unlike during the era of former president Moi when it was solely reserved for the Head of State. It remains to be seen whether the AG, who had tried to have the High Court to stop the swearing in, will take legal action on Raila and those who took part in the ceremony.

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BT Reporter
BT Reporterhttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
editor [at] businesstoday.co.ke
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