Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Are ODM legitimizing an illegitimate President by attending parliament?

ODM has reservations on the manner in which parliament was convened because in our opinion a person who has lost elections has no authority to convene parliament. But however, since we want to pursue this matter at a different level, we will be in parliament ready for the business of parliament, which would be mainly the election of the speaker, and the swearing in of the members of parliament,” Ruto noted.

He denied the ODM is legitimizing President Kibaki’s presidency by participating in Tuesday’s opening session of parliament session, which would be presided over by President Kibaki.
“In no way will we submit to the presidency of Mr. Kibaki because he was not elected. The fact that he continues to occupy State House and to use public resources does not in any way give him credit or legitimize his stolen election. Our move to parliament is basically to restate our position as ODM that indeed we won the elections. We are confident that today we are going to elect and ODM speaker in the name of Kenneth Merende and subsequently, we will continue to conduct the business of parliament as government, and as a party that won the majority seats in parliament and as a party that has the control of the instruments of the legislature,” he said.
Ruto said the opposition party would administer parliament as if the ODM was in power.
“We will manage parliament as though we were government; we will set the agenda for parliament, we will make sure that once we elect a speaker we have an agenda which we promised the people of Kenya. We will run with that agenda and prioritize on the bills to be passed so that we can implement the ODM agenda. Meanwhile, we will confront Mr. Kibaki and his group to see sense and submit to the will of the people of Kenya by either agreeing to a re-run which we are ready or getting out so that we can swear in the person who won the election as president.

Some political observers are criticizing the opposition for participating in the opening session parliament. They say by participation in ceremony, the party would be legitimizing what it has already described as illegitimate.

Quotes from Kenya’s Opposition to Participate in Parliament’s Opening Despite Rejection of Kibaki Presidency by Peter Clottey of Voice of America.

Central Nairobi was under lockdown just before parliament opened.

My understanding is that MPs have to swear allegiance to the President, when they are sworn in.

How are ODM MP's going to swear in, when their view is that the President, is not the President?

Update: There is live coverage of Parliament opening on KTN, and this news blog has some updates.

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