Raila Odinga explains reasons for planning Uhuru Park rally

Raila Odinga
Raila Odinga (right) and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho (left) during a meeting in Mombasa. [Photo/Raila Odinga]

CORD leader Raila Odinga has explained reasons for their plans to hold a public rally at Uhuru Park in Nairobi during Madaraka Day on Wednesday.

Speaking in Mombasa on Sunday, Raila refuted claims that their rally is a sign of disrespect to the government, adding that they intend to use the event to pray for the country and promote peace and reconciliation.

The CORD leader noted that they have no intention of causing chaos during the day, adding that their aim is to preach a message of peace.

The former prime minister further stated that they do not wish to use the event to disparage President Uhuru Kenyatta, noting that they will be using the event to pray for the Head of State and his deputy William Ruto and unite the country.

“There has been a misconception that we intend to disrespect the government, disrespect the day and desecrate on it. Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said.

“We urge the government to look at Madaraka Day as a day to unite the people and a time to pray for the country and seek truth, justice and reconciliation,” he said.

He called on police officers to desist from making attempts to thwart their rally, saying they have no plan to postpone the event.

“There should be no form of confrontation over the issue. We are saddened by a plot by some people to deny Kenyans their right to meet and remember where they are and share in the message of unity.”

“We have no Plan B. The meeting will take place as planned, all we need to do is clarify our intention,” he said.

CORD’s meeting was thrown into disarray on Friday after Nairobi police commander Japheth Koome sent a letter saying the venue had already been booked for a four-day crusade ( Tuesday, May 31 to Friday, May 3, 2016) by Prayer Boundaries Ministries.

The letter, dated May 272016, was written in response to a corresponding letter from KANU Secretary General Nick Salat requesting to hold a rally at Uhuru Park.

“Please be informed that the venue, Uhuru Park, is already booked for three days by Prayers Beyond Boundaries Ministries,” read the letter in part.

“Your notification of participation on Madaraka Day at the same venue is, therefore, not approved.”

In a quick rejoinder Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero stated that the allocation of venues is under his jurisdiction, noting that the county council had already reserved the venue for the CORD rally.

Kidero released a letter dated May 26, agreeing to CORD’s request to hold their rally at Uhuru Park on June 1.

“We are in receipt of your letter dated 22nd May on the above reference subject ‘request to hold a rally at Uhuru Park grounds’,” stated Kidero in the letter.

“We have directed the Director of Environment Water and Energy whose office is in charge of Uhuru Park to reserve the venue for your use on 1st June as per your request.”

CORD had made the request on May 22 while the Church had made their request on May 26, according to the letter in our possession.

Both CORD and the Church’s Bishop Lucy Ngunjiri have remained adamant that their rallies will go on as planned, setting the stage for a clash over the venue.

While Nairobi has been the venue for all the major national celebrations, the government moved this year’s Madaraka Day celebrations to Afraha Stadium in Nakuru in the spirit of devolution. The event will be presided over by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

CORD has claimed that since there will be no major celebration in Nairobi, their rally is aimed at filling the void and provide Kenyans with an event to celebrate the strides that the country has made over the years.


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Story By Benjamin Wafula
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