Salim Lone, the adviser of the National Super Alliance (NASA) leader, Raila Odinga, has urged Mr Odinga’s supporters to remain calm after the Opposition chief shelved his oath plan, which was initially penciled in for December 12.
Mr Lone, in a press statement Tuesday, said the disappointment among NASA supporters after Mr Odinga called off his oath plan “is entirely understandable”, but all is not lost, given Mr Odinga “can still do everything that they think is needed without having been sworn in”.
“While their (NASA supporters) dismay over the swearing-in is entirely understandable, Nasarites should recognize that Raila and their leadership can still do everything that they think is needed without having been sworn in. Those sworn in were not going to have command of the nation’s armed forces, or of the Treasury. Raila and NASA’s greatest strength is the number of Kenyans who back them,” said Mr Lone.
‘BITING ECONOMIC BOYCOTTS’
Mr Lone said Mr Odinga enjoys vast influence – politically and ideologically – and has the required arsenal to “keep the government of the day in check” and also frustrate and disrupt its operations, “where necessary”.
“Whether as a symbolically sworn-in president or as NASA leader, he (Mr Odinga) can call them to assemble or demonstrate peacefully to back up justified demands that could paralyze government and business. Biting economic boycotts could still be organized against more business operations that support dictatorship or other unlawful actions. County governments and Governors can enhance security and economic opportunities,” added Mr Lone.
PEACEFUL PURSUIT OF NASA CAUSE
Mr Lone advised NASA supporters against using force and violence to counter the government’s operations.
“At the same time, Nasarites should be aware of how fundamentally asymmetrical this struggle is in terms of the capacity to use force. If they began retaliating with violence, the other side has massive amounts of firepower that it has shown it is ready to use. So relying on peaceful and constitutional means to win back democracy, or indeed self-determination, is the principled thing to do – and is also in NASA’s own interest,” said Mr Lone.
‘BALL IS IN PRES. KENYATTA’S COURT’
“At the end of the day, having been sworn in as President, the ball is very much in Uhuru Kenyatta’s court,” concluded Mr Lone.
‘SWEARING-IN’ THAT NEVER CAME TO BE
NASA had, on Sunday morning (December 10), communicated that it would announce the venue of Raila Odinga’s ‘swearing in’ at 2pm same day; a pronouncement that never came to be.
They would, however, address the media later in the evening, announcing that the December 12, 2017 function had been called off to a later date after consultation within the coalition.
“We are aware that this will be a disappointment to the people of Kenya who were eagerly waiting of this occasion. We wish to assure them that our resolve has not changed,” NASA said in a statement.
“We wish to thank the Government and people of Mombasa County who had graciously offered to host the event. Thank you very much Mombasa…we shall be announcing the new dates of both the swearing in ceremony and the launch of the People’s Assembly as well as a more vigorous and prolonged resistance in the coming days,” the statement read in part.
Following the cancelation of Mr Odinga’s oath plan, NASA supporters took to social media platforms Facebook and Twitter – in their thousands – to express their disappointment with Mr Odinga, accusing him of cowardice.