Monday, March 20th declared public holiday by Raila

The declaration does not, however, hold water under the law.


• He spoke during the Azimio publikc baraza in Siaya.

• The declaration does not, however, hold water under the law.

Raila Odinga.
Image: The-Star

Raila Odinga, the Azimio leader has unlawfully declared Monday, March 20 a public holiday. This, he said, is to allow Azimio supporters to travel to participate in the mass action against what he termed as an illegitimate government.

"I hereby declare here today in the name of Azimio One Kenya Alliance Coalition that Monday the 20th of March will be a public holiday," Raila said.

He spoke during the Azimio public baraza in Siaya.

The declaration does not, however, hold water under the law.

The law vests the power to declare public holidays in the cabinet secretary in charge of the Interior Ministry.

"The minister may at any time if he thinks fit, by notice in the Gazette, declare any day to be a public holiday either in addition to the days mentioned in the Schedule or in substitution for any of those days," Section 3 of the Public Holidays Act states.

Earlier during the rally, Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua had asked Raila to declare March 20 a public holiday.

"Hatuwezi kuandamana tukifuata haki yetu na tuende kazi (We cannot demonstrate to demand our rights and still go to work," she said.

This is not the first time Raila is usurping powers vested in authority.

On January 30, 2018, Raila had himself sworn in as the “people’s president” in the presence of thousands of supporters at Uhuru Park, Nairobi.

It followed the contested results of the 2017 presidential elections which were nullified by the Supreme Court, but Raila boycotted the repeat poll.

The ODM leader and the defunct National Super Alliance (NASA) never accepted the legitimacy of the August and October elections that resulted in the second term presidency of Uhuru Kenyatta.

Raila's refusal to accept President William Ruto as a legitimate president following their August 9 contest largely forms part of his call for mass action on March 20.

He has blamed the Ruto administration of failing to lower the cost of living and refusing to open IEBC servers to ascertain who won the election.

"And after we have done what we have to do, wherever we are in every corner of the country, we shall finally converge in Nairobi. On that day our supporters throughout the country shall stage a massive procession in Nairobi for a legitimate and inclusive government," he said on Thursday last week. 

Speaking during the public baraza in Siaya, Raila said the clergy prevailed upon him to postpone the March 20 mass action but he declined.

"Today, a group of clergy through the NCCK have appealed to me to postpone the Monday protest march. I want to tell them in response that we people in Azimio came to a conclusion that we need to have a protest march after our ultimatum was completely ignored," he said.

Raila said there is no cause for alarm since the protests will be peaceful "and there will be no form of bloodshed."

He reiterated that the mass action is not aimed at pressuring Ruto into  a truce via a handshake.

"We are doing this because it's the right thing to do, the only alternative we have to be able to get our rights back," Raila said.

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