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February 21, 2018

Kalonzo to be 'sworn-in' on February 28

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka addresses supporters from Mavoko constituency who paid him a courtesy call at the Wiper offices, February 12, 2018. /DENNIS KAVISU
Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka addresses supporters from Mavoko constituency who paid him a courtesy call at the Wiper offices, February 12, 2018. /DENNIS KAVISU

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka has bowed to pressure and will now take an oath as the Deputy People's President on February 28 in Uhuru Park, the Star can report.

In what could be a re-enactment of the events of last month, the Opposition also intends to use the occasion to launch a new push for a referendum to amend the Constitution and bring back the positions of Prime Minister and two deputies.

The positions existed briefly under the Grand Coalition government in 2008-2013,and were occupied by Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi and Uhuru Kenyatta respectively.

Soon after the repeat Presidential election on October 26 last year, the National Council of Churches of Kenya said the positions should be re-introduced to enhance inclusivity in the Executive. It also called for the creation of the formal position of Leader of the Opposition to be held by the losing Presidential candidate.

Kalonzo was derided as a watermelon and a coward after he failed to take the oath with Raila Odinga on January 30.

It is understood that the other co-principals, ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and and Ford Kenya's Moses Wetang’ula have also agreed to attend.

Top NASA officials told the Star on Monday that Kalonzo's oath would be one of the items of the first People's Convention's agenda which will focus on the referendum.

Kalonzo's lieutenants confirmed the oath plan but remained cagey on the finer details.

There was a meeting at Wiper today [yesterday] and the swearing-in of Kalonzo is in the pipeline.

But Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior confirmed the plan, saying “There are a few issues they are sorting out as principals first, but he will be sworn in.”

Wiper Executive Director Jared Siso said Kalonzo’s oath is being handled at NASA's summit level and it is the principals who will give directions.

“The official position is that until the principals have agreed on the date and exact details then he will be sworn-in,” Siso said.

During a press conference last week, Kalonzo denied claims that he is coward and announced that he is ready for the oath once some outstanding issues are sorted out.

“How I wish I was able to do it [take the oath] right now. Taking the oath is not an issue. We are not cowards,” Kalonzo said.

The Wiper boss faces a delicate balance; he has to resuscitate his political career in the face of the recent backlash while sustaining his global reputation as a peacemaker.

The Western envoys that are pushing NASA to recognize Uhuru Kenyatta’s Presidency are reportedly waving possible Visa bans at Opposition hardliners around Raila.

The diplomats, led by US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec, maintain Uhuru is validly elected and that the Opposition must recognize this.

Responding to the diplomats yesterday in Mavoko constituency, the Wiper leader said the diplomatic community cannot push leaders to recognize what was blatant electoral injustice.

 He said NASA is a people-driven movement and that its leaders cannot dictate to their supporters what to do or recognize.

“NASA and NRM is an idea which is in the minds and hearts of our people, even if you force Raila and myself to recognize Uhuru, can you force the supporters?”

Read: Kalonzo in hiding as Raila takes oath

Also read: I'm not a coward, Nasa to solve issues before swearing-in, says Kalonzo

ACTIVITIES

Kalonzo’s swearing-in will be followed by a series of activities in the next seven months as NASA pushes for its new quest for fresh Presidential polls on August 28.

However, the current law only provides for another election in 2022, when the term of the incumbent, President Uhuru, ends.

NASA has decided to compile their demands for reform and channel them into a Constitutional Referendum, barely two years since the Cord-led Okoa Kenya Initiative flopped.

The People’s Assembly coordinating committee member and ODM executive director Oduor Ong’wen confirmed to the Star that their month-end inaugural assembly is on and it will give birth to a new push for a law change through popular initiative.  

“As we announced, we are going to have a National Convention which will deal with various issues, including electoral systems and management,” Ong'wen told the Star yesterday.

 “The Convention will produce a referendum bill. It is only after the referendum that we are going to have elections,” he said.

Mutula Jr described the Convention as a discussion.

“When Kenyans meet in the People’s Convention they will assess the Constitution 10 years after it was promulgated in 2010. Kenyans want to find out if the electoral laws are the problem or the Executive,” he said.

Among other things, NASA wants the adoption of a parliamentary as opposed to the current presidential system of government.

NASA will push for the creation of the office of the Executive Prime Minister to share power with the President in its referendum bill.

The Opposition umbrella is also considering triggering self-determination of some regions from the country’s map.

The coordinating committee headed by economist David Ndii is also considering the issue of a rotational Presidency to ensure each of the country’s 42 communities ascends to the highest seat in the land.

To push the government to the dialogue table, the Opposition has also lined up a number of civil disobedience activities, ranging from street protests to enhanced product boycotts.

Already, the Opposition has flagged up to four companies and instructed its supporters to resist their products and services. The success of the boycott is, however, unknown.

NASA is planning to re-energise its populist wing, the National Resistance Movement, which was proscribed by the government on February 1, by creating youths, women’s and professional wings during the Nairobi Convention. There is also talk of bringing on board trade unions and civil society groups to broaden the Opposition’s base and strengthen its activities.

The loosely organised NRM is currently led by self-proclaimed ‘General’ Miguna Miguna.

“Dictatorship will never work and it gives a good reason for Kenyans to remain solid in the struggle,” said Mutula.

“NASA is stronger than before and you will see more activities meant to push the people's agenda,” ANC nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi told the Star.

“NASA cannot be brought down through bribery and intimidation. Tell Jubilee they are wasting their time.”

Related: Kalonzo will suffer even more ridicule than Raila with “oath”

Also read: Is Kalonzo home raid a crutch for absence at Raila swearing-in?

TOURS

The alliance is planning countrywide tours where Raila will be formally 'introduced' to the people.

He will address the county assemblies, people’s assemblies and hold public rallies to push for electoral justice and self-determination.

The rallies are planned to start next weekend, according to sources within NASA.

The People's Assembly coordinating committee has indicated it will first hold regional assemblies in areas they skipped in the run-up to Raila's oath.

Prior to Raila’s controversial oath taking, the alliance held assemblies in Coast, Western, Lower Eastern and Nyanza.  It has yet to hold meetings in the Central Kenya, Rift Valley and Northeastern regions.

The Star also established that Raila plans to name a Cabinet soon, among other activities.

Meanwhile, plans are also underway to accord ‘deported’ NASA figure Miguna Miguna a heroic welcome when he finally comes back to the country.

Yesterday, Miguna's lawyers John Khaminwa and Nelson Havi filed for orders to compel the government to reinstate his passport and allow his re-entry into the country.

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