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Surprises mark Raila fete as supporters throng venue

By Moses Nyamori and Daniel Psirmoi | Jan 31st 2018 | 2 min read
NASA leader Raila Odinga takes oath of office as the peoples president at Uhuru Park on 30/1/18-[Photo by Beverlyne Musili/Standard]

With a green Bible in his raised right hand, a wooden podium and thousands of ecstatic supporters cheering him on, Opposition leader Raila Odinga took the oath as the 'people’s president' in slightly over one minute.

Wearing his trademark cap and a collarless white shirt, Raila was done with the much-touted event within 10 minutes of his arrival, leaving his supporters yearning for more.

Standing by him was his former aide Miguna Miguna, Siaya Senator James Orengo and Ruaraka MP TJ Kajwang, who officiated the event.

Mr Miguna witnessed the signing of the oath.

Raila's arrival at the historic Uhuru Park grounds at about 2.30pm was marked by euphoria as supporters chanted his name and the 'Canaan' campaign tune.

There was, however, a low moment when Raila announced that his deputy Kalonzo Musyoka and National Super Alliance (NASA) co-principals Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula could not make it to the venue.

He did not provide further details of what could have kept the other leaders away from the event.

NASA supporters thronged the venue and sat right up to the podium reserved for guests and MPs, making it difficult for the organisers to run the programme.

It was difficult to set up the dais as they were forced to carry chairs and a makeshift coat of arms through the crowd that did not give way.

Police withdrawal from the venue caught organisers off guard as they were not prepared with a public address system nor had they finished decorating the venue by the time Raila arrived.

News of the police withdrawal early in the morning saw supporters throng the venue in their numbers.

Abandoned beehive

They were welcomed by an abandoned beehive covered with a piece of cloth at the main dais, where the two principals were supposed to take the oath of office.

Witnesses said the hive, which had a live swarm of bees, was dumped by masked men who arrived at the venue in Canter and Subaru vehicles at about 4am. The men left the park shortly after their mission was accomplished.

After discovering the hive, the NASA stalwarts dragged it away from the podium before setting it on fire and dumping it into the man-made pond.

Another group combed the area for more bees and stumbled on honeycombs that had been hidden under flowerbeds. They also dragged these into the pool of water, scaring away the bees.

At midday, a crowd at the junction of Kenyatta Avenue-Uhuru Highway turned their anger on three huge billboards in the centre of the roundabout.

Two of them climbed the billboards, one bearing the image of President Uhuru Kenyatta and the other a message from Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, and pulled them down. 

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