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August 21, 2018

How Wanjigi pushed Raila to be sworn in

NASA coalition leaders Tom Kajwang, James Orengo and Jimmy Wanjigi prepare to swear in Principal Raila Odinga into office as president at Uhuru Park in Nairobi on January 30, 2018./JACK OWUOR
NASA coalition leaders Tom Kajwang, James Orengo and Jimmy Wanjigi prepare to swear in Principal Raila Odinga into office as president at Uhuru Park in Nairobi on January 30, 2018./JACK OWUOR

The NASA coalition yesterday rallied together to dispel speculation that they were falling apart, even as details filtered in about the force behind Raila Odinga's Tuesday oathing.

Eccentric businessman Jimmy Wanjigi is said to be the man calling the shots behind the scenes, despite a chill in the relations with the other three co-principals.

The NASA co-principals yesterday put on a show of unity, saying it was their strategy to stagger the oaths and that their supporters should not panic. They addressed a press conference at the Okoa Kenya offices.

Read : Raila 'sworn-in' as people's president, Kalonzo absent

“Part of our strategy was to swear in Raila Odinga alone. Even if we made our way to Uhuru Park on Tuesday, only Raila would have been ‘sworn-in’. My ‘oath’ would come at a later date,” Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka said. He was Raila's running mate in the August General Election.

Kalonzo said they are still observing the situation and are working on a detailed program for his own swearing-in, which will be made public soon.

Making his first public appearance with the three co-principals since his swearing in, Raila dismissed claims of a split in NASA. "We are going to be strong as NASA. The so-called division is an invention of the media,” Raila said.

“We are moving forward as one. We shall not be intimidated, divided or defeated. Victory is in sight and we are headed there,” Moses Wetang'ula, the Ford Kenya boss, said.

But as the four insisted all was well, Musalia Mudavadi's divided ANC seemed to be imploding.

Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi accused some party officials, who he termed a cartel, of misleading Mudavadi to skip the swearing-in event.

“The absence of our leader during the swearing-in was not the position of ANC as a party because we had agreed that he will attend.”

Osotsi named ANC Secretary General Barack Muluka and Mudavadi's aides Kabisu Kabatesi and Dan Ameyo as part of the 'cartel' ruining Mudavadi's political career.

“This cartel is powerful and does not listen to anyone,” he said.

Kalonzo explained that they had an earlier agreement with Raila to stagger their oaths as a strategy after receiving intelligence, which he did not disclose.

That is a departure from their explanations on Tuesday, when Kalonzo and his two colleagues claimed they were blocked on their way to Uhuru Park and did not attend after their security had been withdrawn.

During the media briefing in Lavington, the Kalonzo fought back tears as the NASA principals explained why Raila Odinga took a solo oath on Tuesday.

"I say pole (sorry) to my brother Kalonzo after the attack on his home. He has a sick wife ... imagine the kind of shock they got," said Raila.

At that point, Kalonzo reached out for his handkerchief to wipe tears rolling down his cheeks.

Kalonzo's wife Pauline has been ill and was hospitalised in Germany for over two months last year.

Details have also emerged of the behind-the-scenes push-and-pull that culminated in the oathing ceremony.

Meanwhile, sources close to Raila have revealed how Jimi Wanjigi almost single-handedly pushed the NASA chief to withdraw from the presidential rerun on October 26, after rallying the support of Raila's allies including James Orengo.

Immediately after the polls, which Raila boycotted, Wanjigi spearheaded an aggressive push for Raila to be sworn in as the People’s President, relying on results of the August 8 election annulled by the Supreme Court.

He enlisted Raila's children, Junior and his sister Winnie, to push their dad to be sworn in, despite reservations from his co-principals.

Wanjigi, who spent most of Monday plotting the swearing-in, convinced Raila that the people would assemble in Nairobi and occupy the city for days until Uhuru resigns.

The government would predictably crack down on the NASA supporters and a stand-off would ensue that would force Uhuru to the negotiation table, it was argued.

Also read : State withdraws Joho's security after Raila swearing-in

That's not exactly how things turned out, as the government withdrew the police at the last minute and allowed the rally to proceed peacefully.

Raila did not give NASA supporters a way forward after his Tuesday oathing, but yesterday announced that the technical team will issue a comprehensive statement today detailing the way ahead.

He also did not explain what his role will be henceforth.

Despite the strategy flops, Wanjigi remains deep inside Raila's circle. NASA co-principals, particularly Kalonzo and Musalia, reportedly have no time for him but he retains his position near Raila.

Some see him as a man using Raila to settle scores with Jubilee after he lost favour with the President and his deputy.

Others are wary that Wanjigi's strategies may lead to nowhere.

Raila's allies like Junet Mohamed have reportedly distanced themselves after disagreeing with Wanjigi's strategies.

Yesterday Mohamed declined to comment on the matter. Sometime after November election, he followed Raila to Zanzibar where Raila had retreated and proposed Raila conduct his own fresh elections a day before Uhuru’s swearing in, declare results the same day and be sworn in the same day with Uhuru. Raila did not buy the plan.

Yesterday Raila's spokesman Dennis Onyango declined to comment.

Raila maintained he won the August 8 presidential election, stating he is ready to swear that last week's results released by the opposition were the actual figures in the IEBC servers.

He challenged the electoral body to make public the server logs for the annulled August 8 results and compare then with NASA's figures.

Related : NASA planned 'massacre' at Uhuru Park, media involved - Matiang'i

On Thursday, last week, NASA released what they termed 'authentic' August 8 server results, showing that its leader had 8.1 million votes against President Uhuru Kenyatta's 7.9 million. IEBC disowned the NASA figures.

Yesterday, Raila affirmed, "I can swear by the Bible that the results we released last week were genuine. We won the elections while Jubilee lost. That is why I was able to hold the Bible. I did not hold it because I am mad or a megalomaniac."

The ODM boss also asked the government to stop intimidating those who participated in his swearing-in.

Ruaraka MP Tom Kajwang' who stood by as he took the oath was arrested on Wednesday. Yesterday he was charged with being "present and consenting to the administering of an oath to Raila Odinga purporting to bind the said Raila Amollo Odinga to commit a capital offence of treason."

Kajwang' wore an official wig and was robed. Others present included Siaya Senator James Orengo and lawyer Miguna Miguna.

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