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Kalonzo rallies supporters to counter Raila oath backlash

By Geoffrey Mosoku | Published Tue, February 6th 2018 at 00:00, Updated February 5th 2018 at 22:54 GMT +3
A security guard salutes Raila Odinga as he arrives at the Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi where Miguna Miguna was expected to be arraigned on Monday. [Photo: Pius Cheruiyot, Standard]

Wiper party top leaders meet this morning in Nairobi amid a backlash generated by Kalonzo Musyoka's absence at Raila Odinga's "swearing-in".

Raila turned up alone at Uhuru Park for the January 30 event.

Conspicuously absent from the ceremony in which Raila was sworn in as "people's president" were his deputy Kalonzo as well as National Super Alliance (NASA) co-principals Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang'ula.

This has exposed the trio to a lot of bashing with their critics accusing them of betraying Raila, and demanding that they openly declare whether they had decamped from NASA and abandoned the Opposition's cause.

Common position

During today's meeting, Kalonzo's party will be seeking to come up with a common position following sustained attacks on its leader.

The meeting comes as it emerges that Raila never met the three on the morning he was sworn in as earlier agreed.

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Instead, the four leaders together with the NASA coordinating committee met at Mudavadi’s private office on the eve of the ceremony. The meeting lasted over five hours.

Before departing, the leaders agreed to meet the following morning at Wetang’ula’s Karen home before driving together to Uhuru Park.

However for security reasons, Raila told his colleagues that he would not spend the night in his home for fear of being barricaded and that he would switch off his phone for fear of being tracked.

“Raila gave the other principals a Nigerian mobile phone number and said he would be contacting them the next day. However he only spoke once to Kalonzo on that Tuesday morning and asked him to meet at Wetang’ula's home. After that, no one picked calls to that line,” a NASA insider said.

Karen meeting

When the three converged in Karen, NASA CEO Norman Magaya called Wetang’ula and asked him to join Raila, who was supposedly with Mudavadi at Serena hotel.

“We suspect Raila was so secretive and worried about his security that he could not even communicate or probably wanted to just take the oath alone,” the source said.

Since last week, the four Opposition leaders have only appeared together in public once, on Thursday at a press conference to deny claims of a rift between them.

Yesterday, Raila appeared at the Milimani Law Courts without his three colleagues and missed a public rally at Baba Dogo grounds on Sunday.

Yvonne burial

On the other hand, Wetang’ula was in Kitale on Saturday during the burial of Yvonne Wamalwa, widow of former Vice President Kijana Wamalwa while Mudavadi and Kalonzo are yet to make a public appearance since Thursday.

Last week, an emotional Kalonzo likened the crowd that attended Raila's ceremony to the 2002 return of retired President Mwai Kibaki from London ahead of that year’s election and appealed to NASA leaders to stop intra-party wars.  

 “As we call our troops to order, I want to reiterate that we are a properly registered outfit. The best of NASA is yet to happen,” said Kalonzo.

Mudavadi also defended his absence from Uhuru Park.

“It does not make sense for any vilification for not attending. I want to tell the people who are spending a lot of time and resources vilifying us that they should spend it elsewhere,” he said.

His sentiments were echoed by Wetang'ula who said the trio still supported Raila.

“We are all behind our president who was sworn in at Uhuru Park, we are telling our supporters, not to lose sight, our moving target is Jubilee and they are in panic, we shall not be cowed or divided, victory is in sight,” he said.

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