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I'm ready for death after my swearing-in, declares Raila

By Philip Muasya | Dec 20th 2017 | 3 min read
Leaders present during Kitui West MP Francis Nyenze’s burial on December 19, 2017. [Paul Mutua, Standard]

Opposition leader Raila Odinga yesterday declared he was ready to face the death penalty after being sworn in.

Attorney General Githu Muigai has warned that swearing in the National Super Alliance (NASA) leader would attract treason charges, which are punishable by death. 

But Raila said he was ready to die in his bid to liberate the country from what he called 'dictatorial leadership'.

Speaking during the burial of former Kitui West MP Francis Nyenze at Kyondoni village, Raila vowed to go ahead with the swearing-in and dared the Government to take any action against him.

Stop intimidation

"They should stop trying to intimidate me about treason. I am ready to be sworn in and die. We will be sworn in na wafanye vile wanataka kufanya (let them do whatever they want)," Raila vowed to the applause of thousands of mourners.

Earlier, fellow NASA leaders had insisted that Raila and his running mate in August 8 presidential election, Kalonzo Musyoka, would be sworn in, although they did not nae the date or venue.

Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya's Moses Wetang'ula said they were ready to face any consequences in their quest to swear in Raila as the people's president.

Raila reiterated that the NASA team's push for electoral justice was unstoppable.

"Kenyans will not continue going to the polls only for their will to be overturned by a few crooked people," he said.

Sources within the alliance say sustained pressure to swear in Raila has split NASA.

The sources indicate that there are differences between factions pushing for a private ceremony and those that insist it must be a public event. A moderate group is pushing for the abandoning of the swearing-in altogether.

Senior figures in NASA have told The Standard that the group that is pushing to have Raila sworn in in private was contemplating having it done in a palatial residence in Nairobi, record the event, then share the clips with media houses.

Sources claimed the plan was to be executed on December 10, but aborted when some opposition leaders objected to it. Mudavadi, Wetang'ula, and Wiper Party Chairman Kivutha Kibwana then convened a press conference to announce the event had been shelved.

Private swearing in

Those pressing for the swearing-in are understood to have been pushing for the ceremony to be conducted tomorrow at a private residence but organisers put it off. Reports indicate that at least four lawyers and a retired judge who had been tapped to perform the exercise chickened out.

Yesterday, Raila landed at Kyondoni Secondary School, where he was received by Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu. He was then driven to the burial venue in Ngilu's official car. 

Kalonzo, who has been in Germany attending to his wife in hospital, was not present.

Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana, who delivered Kalonzo's condolence message, said the community was firmly behind NASA and that he would contest the presidency in 2022.

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