Raila vows to ignore ban on Madaraka Day rally
Cord leaders have vowed to go ahead with a parallel Madaraka Day rally on Wednesday in defiance of a ban imposed by a top government security team, which has said no meetings should be held in Nairobi.
The decision by the politicians led by Mr Raila Odinga sets the stage for a confrontation between Cord supporters and security agencies in the capital, with the National Security Advisory Council (NSC) on Monday warning that holding political rallies in the city poses a security threat.
On Monday, Mr Odinga said: “We did not intend to hold a parallel function to that of the President. In fact, we were just going to celebrate, and we are ready to celebrate it anywhere else, not necessarily in Nakuru”.
He said that Cord would use the day for reflection.
“We have serious challenges in this country today and we need to trace our roots. We start with truth, justice and reconciliation and peace.”
He spoke before Government spokesman Eric Kiraithe announced a ban on rallies and prayers in Nairobi.
Cord had said it would hold the rally at Uhuru Park, the same venue that a religious group was expected to hold a prayer meeting.
Although the religious group, Prayer Beyond Boundaries Ministries, had paid for the venue, the Nairobi County government said it had only allowed the Cord rally.
On Monday, Mr Kiraithe said the double booking of the venue as an “unfortunate administrative oversight” which would pose a threat to Kenyans in Nairobi who will be celebrating Madaraka Day.
However, Cord responded immediately, saying they had filed a case in court to overturn the ban by NSAC on rallies at Uhuru Park. A decision will be made on Tuesday at 10.30am.
Suna East MP Junet Mohamed advised Mr Kiraithe to acquaint himself with the constitutional provisions on freedom of assembly.
“Cord will go ahead with its rally on Wednesday,” Mr Mohamed said at Mr Odinga’s Capitol Hill offices.
Earlier in the day, Cord leaders Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula met members of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance, who urged them to call off the parallel Madaraka Day rally as well as their weekly demonstrations against the electoral commission.