Et tu Brute?

Author:Otieno, Derek

Opposition leader Raila Odinga carried out his threat to stage an 'alternative swearing-in' ceremony following the official inauguration of election victor, Uhuru Kenyatta after the country's second presidential poll. But his chief allies deserted him, leaving the opposition coalition fractured and in danger of disintegration. Derek Otieno reports from Nairobi.

Open accusations of betrayal over the 30 January 'swearing-in' of opposition leader, the National Super Alliance's (NASA's) Raila Odinga have not only split the party but all but killed off the veteran politician's prospects for the next elections in 2022.

Odinga made good his threat to stage an 'alternative swearing-in' ceremony as the 'People's President' in protest at what he and his party claimed had been fraudulent elections the first time around in August 2017. The incumbent, Uhuru Kenyatta, leader of the Jubilee Party, won the presidential vote but following appeals, the Supreme Court nullified the results and called for fresh elections in October.

Raila boycotted the new elections, claiming that the playing field had not been sufficiently levelled. Kenyatta won the one-sided contest with a massive majority. Odinga and NASA refused to accept the verdict and announced that they would stage the alternative 'swearing-in'.

Despite warnings from the Attorney-General that this would constitute treason, the 'swearing-in' went ahead in Nairobi's Uhuru Park. The government prohibited national television stations from showing coverage of the event.

While a substantial crowd was in attendance, some of Odinga's main supporters were conspicuous by their absence. NASA is a coalition of several opposition parties. Those who failed to turn up included Wipers' Kalonzo Musyoka, Amani National Congress's Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang'ula of Ford-Kenya.

This breaking of ranks led to charges of cowardice' as Odinga and his supporters found themselves isolated.

Since then, relationships among the different parties affiliated to NASA have been worsening by the day. The smaller partners have claimed that Odinga's party, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), is the biggest beneficiary in the sharing of parliamentary positions while sidelining the other three: ANC, Ford-Kenya and Wiper. The other parties feel that ODM has become a bully and is using them for its own selfish interests.

The Jubilee Party has been quick to seize upon the disunity within the opposition ranks by either, reportedly...

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