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Four questions ahead of Raila Odinga’s planned swearing-in

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga believes he won the August 8 election – the main reason the coalition seeks to have him sworn in on January 30.

The results for the August election were nullified by the Supreme Court following a petition by Nasa.

But Mr Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka boycotted a repeat election held on October 26, citing unwillingness by the government to even the playing field.

Mr Uhuru Kenyatta won the repeat election and was sworn in as President.

Mr Odinga has refused to recognise President Kenyatta’s and has vowed that he and Mr Musyoka would be sworn in. The controversial ceremony, twice postponed, is now only three days away, but questions still linger.

  1. Who will swear Mr Odinga in?

The Constitution provides in Article 141 that the President should be sworn in in public before the Chief Justice, or in his absence, the Deputy Chief Justice. There has been speculation that a ‘Nasa-leaning’ judge might be the one to administer the oath of office. Who will do this dare devilry act, which, according to Attorney-General Githu Muigai, could attract death penalty?

  1. Where will the ‘swearing-in’ take place?

Nasa CEO Norman Magaya insists that the ceremony will take place at Uhuru Park despite the county government’s assertions that the venue would be cordoned off, risking violent confrontation with police. If it will take place elsewhere, where would that be?

  1. Where will Mr Odinga go after the ceremony?

When President Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in on April 9, 2013, he proceeded to State House, Nairobi, the official seat of power, and after the State luncheon escorted his predecessor, Mwai Kibaki, out of the building in a symbolic handover. Since President Kenyatta is already a tenant at State House and Harambee House, where will Mr Odinga work from? The Nasa leader recently told the Voice of America that he could run government from exile. What exactly does this mean?

  1. Beyond the swearing-in, what will Mr Odinga do to get power?

This is the question on many Kenyans’ minds because the swearing-in in itself, if it were to happen, does not come with the instruments of power. What extra step he would take to get power remains a puzzle. A document seen by the Nation appears to anticipate this question: “If Nasa supporters choose to march to State House after the swearing-in, will they get a safe passage or there is a real risk of a bloodbath?

The document further asks: “If we are not taking power, are we going into the bush to fight? Do we have what it takes?”

Conversations with some of the Nasa technocrats, however, reveal that their decision to swear in Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka is a symbolic one to show the world that “we won.”

Already, this appears to be the overriding goal. On Thursday Nasa strategist David Ndii tweeted: “If Uhuru admits the October election was a sham, we might consider having a conversation to see whether it is worth suspending the swearing-in.”

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