NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 10 – Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and ex-Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka are expected back in the country late on Wednesday from holiday in South Africa.
“They are expected back today evening but I’ll need to confirm exactly what time. But why are you so interested, they are ordinary citizens now,” Odinga’s Spokesman Dennis Onyango said in response to enquiries by Capital FM News.
Odinga, Musyoka and their Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) partner Moses Wetangula flew to South Africa on Saturday.
Photos of the three at a wildlife reserve in South Africa were uploaded on the ODM (Orange Democratic Movement) Reloaded website as Uhuru Kenyatta was being sworn in as the fourth President of Kenya.
The three were seen taking in the sights and sounds of SA, with one photo showing Musyoka looking through a telescope.
Other photos showed them enjoying drinks as the sun set in the background.
The CORD principals were said to be taking a break following the gruelling election period and were hoping to meet with South African emancipation hero Nelson Mandela but this appeared unlikely.
Sources within the coalition said the three were dissuaded from attending Kenyatta’s swearing-in ceremony at a meeting with leaders voted into office under the coalition’s banner at Odinga’s home in Karen on Thursday.
Their party members are said to have expressed concern that the coalition leaders would receive a hostile reception should they attend the swearing-in ceremony, in the same way retired President Daniel arap Moi was heckled as he handed over power to the immediate former President Mwai Kibaki in 2002.
The premonition appeared justified given the hostile reception Odinga’s name received when he was mentioned by Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, who congratulated the CORD leader for taking his grievances to court.
A section of the public who attended the ceremony chanted, “Yote yawezekana bila Raila,” an adaptation of popular gospel song that translates to, “Everything is possible without Raila.”
There was also concern that by attending the inauguration, they would be endorsing Kenyatta’s declaration as the outright winner of the March 4 General Election.
Odinga who contested the presidency and lost to Kenyatta filed a petition challenging his win, but he subsequently lost.
The former premier’s boycott of the swearing-in ceremony follows that of Ghanaian opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo who after failing to block John Mahama’s win also boycotted his inauguration.
Despite Kenyatta’s efforts to reach out to the CORD coalition, Kalonzo revealed on Friday at a farewell ceremony held for Kibaki by the Public Service, that the coalition will instead focus on creating a formidable opposition which Kenyatta also welcomed.