Raila Odinga inaugurates himself as president

Raila Odinga, has declared himself the people’s president at a controversial swearing-in ceremony in the capital.

Uhuru-Odinga conflict

Kenya’s main opposition leader, Raila Odinga, has declared himself the people’s president” at a controversial swearing-in” ceremony in the capital.

Thousands of his supporters attended the event, despite a government warning that it amounted to treason.

The authorities shut down TV stations to prevent live coverage of the event.

President Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in for a second term last November. He won an election re-run in October, but Mr Odinga boycotted it.

Elections were first held in August but the courts ordered a re-run, saying Mr Kenyatta’s victory was marred by irregularities.

Holding a Bible in his right hand at a park in Nairobi, Mr Odinga declared that he was answering to a high[er] calling to assume the office of the people’s president of the Republic of Kenya”.

People had had enough of election rigging and the event was a step towards establishing a proper democracy in the East African state, Mr Odinga told a cheering crowd.

Speaking earlier to Kenyan broadcaster KTN, Mr Odinga said his swearing-in” was intended to show the world that what we are doing is legal, constitutional and not something you can remotely describe as a coup”.

What did he achieve?

It was a public relations stunt that ended in disappointment for many opposition supporters, says the BBC’s Alastair Leithead in Nairobi.

Mr Odinga, turned up for just 20 minutes. He signed a statement, swore an oath and left the stage, leaving his supporters wondering why it was such a low-key affair, he adds.

His deputy, Kalonzo Musyoka, was not at the event, and Mr Oding,a said Mr Musyoka would be sworn-in” at a later date.

However, his absence suggested there were divisions in Mr Odinga’s National Super Alliance, our correspondent says.

What do Odinga supporters say?

One of them, Larry Oyugi, said there was nothing illegal about Tuesday’s event: We have warned the police enough and we are also going as per the constitution. The constitution of Kenya, article one, allows all Kenyans to exercise their power directly.

This is why we are here to exercise our powers by gathering here and also article 37 allows peaceful assembly. We are citizens of this country, we are allowed to peacefully assemble here and elect our president as per the constitution.”

Police allowed the event to take place, despite warning earlier that they would prevent it from going ahead.

How did the TV ban take hold?

Three privately owned television stations – NTV, KTN and Citizen TV – went off air from around 09:10 (06:10 GMT), BBC Monitoring reports.

Citizen TV, told the BBC the authorities had forced them off the air over plans to cover the gathering.

It live streamed the event on its website, and on YouTube and Facebook.

KTN viewers watched their screens fade to black as the news presenter read a statement confirming that the national communications authority was switching off transmission.

Switching off the broadcasting signals of media organisations is unusual in Kenya, the BBC’s Anne Soy reports from Nairobi.

Threats have been made in the past and some media groups have been raided but none have had their signal deliberately disrupted.

Kenyan journalists have denounced the move as outrageous and in a statement called for respect of the constitution” and an end to the unprecedented intimidation of journalists”.

There was tension in Kenya on Tuesday as some schools closed in the capital because of the event, and people did not know what to expect, our correspondent says.

Why is the election result disputed?

Mr Kenyatta was officially re-elected with 98percent of the vote on 26 October but just under 39 percent of voters turned out. He was inaugurated in November.

His victory is not recognised by Mr Odinga, who argues he was elected by a small section of the country.

Mr Kenyatta also won the original election on 8 August but that result was annulled by the Supreme Court, which described it as neither transparent nor verifiable”.

When the repeat vote was called, Mr Odinga urged his supporters to shun it because he said no reforms had been made to the electoral commission.

Correspondents say the election dispute has left Kenya deeply divided. About 50 people are reported to have been killed in violence since the August ballot.

Source: Josephine Netty, The Herlad, January 31, 2018
© 2018, The Herald, All rights Reserved – Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc.

Raila Re-Edits His Twitter Bio Four Times Within 12 Hours

Raila Odinga

Raila Odinga, has declared himself the people’s president at a controversial swearing-in ceremony in the capital.

It seems Nasa leader Raila Odinga also has difficulties making up his mind – at least on who exactly he is to his Twitter followers.

Mr Odinga has edited his Twitter bio at least four times since his ‘swearing-in’ at Uhuru Park in Nairobi on Tuesday afternoon.

Minutes after the event, he changed his bio to read “President of the Republic of Kenya.” This did not last long as he risked losing his verification badge.

Twitter rules lists “intentionally misleading people on Twitter by changing one’s display name or bio” as one of the reasons users can lose the cherished badge.

Hours later, he altered the bio to read: “This is the official account of His Excellency Raila Amolo Odinga, leader of the Nasa coalition in Kenya.”

He still was not done.

The former Prime Minister changed his bio late in the night to read: “This is the official account of His Excellency Raila Amolo Odinga. Sworn in as the People’s President on 30/1/2018.”

And in the morning, it had changed to: “This is the official account of His Excellency Raila Amolo Odinga.”

Source: Eddy Kagera, Nairobi News, January 31, 2018
© 2018 AllAfrica, All Rights Reserved

Who will tell Raila he’s naked?

The story is told of an emperor so exceedingly fond of new clothes that he mistakenly hired some swindlers to make him the best clothing ever. The two swindlers came, claiming to be weavers who could make the most magnificent fabrics imaginable.

Beside their perfect colours and patterns, the clothes had a wonderful way of becoming invisible to anyone who was unfit for his office, or who was unusually stupid, they told the emperor.

‘Those would be just the clothes for me,’ thought the emperor as he paid the two swindlers a large sum of money to start work at once. He then kept sending his aides to check on the progress and they paid more money.

The swindlers would describe the imaginary patterns and colours on an empty loom to all those who came and the ‘magnificent’ clothing became the talk of the entire palace. Nobody would confess that he couldn’t see anything, for that would prove him either unfit for his position, or a fool.

The splendid clothes became the talk of the entire town. The day came when the emperor was to lead a procession. He undressed and the swindlers made a great show of dressing him in his new clothes. So out went the emperor in great pomp. At first everyone exclaimed how magnificent his clothes were. No one wanted to be thought a fool, or unfit for the office he held.

One child however said, ‘But he hasn’t got anything on.’ And soon the whole town cried out the same as they laughed at the naked emperor.

Just like in this story, NASA sycophants have been lying to former Prime Minister Raila Odinga that he should take a treasonous oath today to remain relevant.

Kenyans are waiting to see how this pans out and what next for a ‘president’ who does not have the least of powers.

These are the same sycophants who have come up with other grand ideas such as compelling the former opposition leader not to participate in the last election. They have lied to one of Kenya’s seniormost politicians that the IEBC servers have results that show he won.

What they are not telling him, which is the truth, is that their false prophet is naked and is bound to fail, just as all their other plans have failed. What they are not telling him is that he may join the league of rebel leaders who have stayed in hiding for treasonous acts.

And so today the big day has finally arrived. Raila will finally take the oath that he has taunted the country with for so long. Pleas from the clergy, envoys and non-hardliners in his own party’s ranks have fallen on deaf ears.

And this is because of a few self-centered individuals who do not care what happens to him. People who already have secured their jobs as elected leaders within his party.

Of course, there are a few failed politicians who want Raila to join them in the land of failures. It is the land of failures because Raila has no plan of what to do next after taking an illegal oath in a country that has a legitimate and democratically elected government in place.

This scheme is a complete waste of time; a plot by merchants of chaos who do not care about the future of this country.

As NASA supporters go about their business today, they would do well to remember that the Attorney General has spelt out very clearly the repercussions of what they will do today. This is treason and is punishable by death.

NASA still has a chance to call off this ridiculous scheme to seek power forcibly and unconstitutionally. Failing this will mean a date with the hangman’s noose as the law dictates.

NASA supporters must tell Raila the truth and help him retire from politics with dignity as his time is over. They should not allow him to walk naked and face humiliation.

Source: The Star (Kenya), January 30, 2018
© Copyright 2018 Radio Africa Group

Writer decries Kenya TV shutdown

Text of commentary by Jaindi Kisero entitled “Clampdown on TV stations is not good news for investors” published by Kenyan privately-owned newspaper Daily Nation website on 31 January; subheadings as published

I take a very old-fashioned view when it comes to the role of journalism in society.

I believe freedom of the media does not mean much without the freedom to offend and to hold to account people in authority.

I don’t believe in the theory of responsible journalism, especially if it amounts to summoning editors to State House and directing them to subject their practise to the whims of the cabinet secretary information and communications, Mr Joe Mucheru, his Internal Security counterpart, Dr Fred Matiang’i, Attorney-General Githu Muigai, or even President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto.

Tuesday’s decision by the government to shut down television stations took us a leap closer to authoritarianism. Press freedom

You see, if you believe in press freedom, you will also appreciate that the concept of freedom of the press is predicated on two things: First, that journalism must be trusted to publish what it wants.

Secondly, and even more important, in my view, is that the public must be trusted to watch what they want and determine the truth or not of what is being broadcast.

Indeed, what happened was not just a ruthless clampdown on broadcasting stations.

Rather, it was a grotesque display of the disdain that people in authority have for the ordinary TV viewer and citizen, who sat in his or her living room for the whole day, waiting to watch the events at Uhuru Park, Nairobi.

Clearly, Mr Mucheru, Dr Matiang’i, Prof Muigai, and the other wielders of power who made the decision to shut down the stations regard the ordinary citizen and TV viewer as some impressionable plebeian, who cannot think for himself or herself.

The deep contempt is informed by a mind-set that snobbishly regards ordinary citizens as gullible dummies with no rational faculties of their own, who should be shielded from being influenced by what the wielders of power don’t like. At a crossroads

The shutdown is a poignant sign of the illiberal times we live in today. Indeed, we are at a crossroads, going through a new wave of illiberalism that is sweeping through the body-politic with unprecedented ferocity.

Just the other day, we were treated to a spectacle, where a senior staffer in the Office of the Deputy President was recorded threatening a reporter with dire consequences for writing a story he did not like, and bragging how he was capable of influencing the reporter’s sacking.

The ruthless clampdown will once again make Kenya attract global newspaper headlines for the wrong reasons.

The risk premium is bound to be raised not only in so far as the broadcasting sector is concerned, but also in the broader telecommunications industry. Investors

Indeed, this is bound to spark a new bout of investor uncertainty in the sector. It is a statement about the state of regulation of broadcasting and telecommunications, exposing this critical sector as operating under a framework that is vulnerable to political meddling, arbitrary decision-making, and to changes that an investor is not able to predict.

The signal out there is that of an investment climate where you can wake up one day only to discover that your TV station has been shut down and your licences arbitrarily revoked.

Indeed, the regulator, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), which actually effected the shutdown, has been exposed as having no mettle to protect the interests of investors.

As things stand, and with the saga about the swearing- in of [opposition] Nasa [National Super Alliance] leader Raila Odinga out of the way, we must now wait to see what the government’s next move will be. Licences

The government had threatened to cancel the licences of broadcasters if they defied the directive by State House not to mount live broadcasts.

Whether it will go to the next stage and actually cancel licences, as State House had threatened, remains to be seen.

But we must all pray that the broadcasters will be allowed to resume business soonest.

The broadcasting industry is currently navigating through hard economic times, their top lines hit by declining advertising revenues, crippling spectrum fees, and dwindling working capital.

Broadcasters are in no place to either survive protracted disruptions arising from unnecessary disputes with the government nor the harsh macro-economic environment that has seen even blue-chip companies issuing profit warnings.

It is jobs that are at stake here.

My parting shot to the government is a saying a wise man uttered many years ago: “You cannot enjoy the advantage of a free press without putting up with its inconveniences. You cannot pluck a rose without its thorns.”

I rest my case.

Source: Daily Nation website, Nairobi, in English 31 Jan 18
© 2018 The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

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