Nairobi’s Uhuru Park, the historic venue that was threatening to be a theatre of chaos during tomorrow’s Madaraka Day celebrations between a religious group and Raila Odinga-led Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) for a prayer service and rally respectively, will now be off limits.
The move by the National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC), which met yesterday and banned any activity, has technically locked out Raila’s planned Madaraka Day parallel rally in Nairobi to the President Uhuru Kenyatta at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru. The country has been in the grip of a divisive debate on who between Cord and Prayers Beyond Boundaries Ministry will have the right to use the facility tomorrow.
In a statement yesterday, Government Spokesperson Eric Kiraithe advised Cord to reorganise their activities as the facility will be cordoned and no activity will be allowed.
The top security organ also directed that Nyayo National Stadium, which would have been an option for the Opposition, be closed the whole day tomorrow and would not be accessible to any member of the public. The decisions according to Kiraithe was reached by the Security Committee after evaluating the security threats emanating from a double booking of the grounds.
“It was decided that neither of the parties who had reserved the premises will be permitted to use the grounds on the material day. Both parties are, therefore, hereby requested to re organise their activities accordingly,” said Kiraithe.
But speaking earlier yesterday after meeting Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) officials at his Capitol Hill Square offices, Raila maintained that their Uhuru Park rally is on and denied claims that it was meant to rival the State Madaraka Day Celebrations in Nakuru.
“There was a misunderstanding about our plans to go to Uhuru Park, We are not going to hold parallel rallies to that of the President, we are going just to reflect where we have come from and where we are going as country,” said Raila.
The Cord leader, who was accompanied by co-principal Moses Wetang’ula noted that Cord is ready for dialogue explaining that is why they suspended yesterday’s protests to allow room for dialogue. Kiraithe also said that two neighboring countries which he did not name are bankrolling some unnamed individuals in the country to make the country ungovernable by creating conditions of instability, insecurity, lawlessness and strife.
Acts of treason
“The government considers these contemptible undertakings to be a betrayal of Kenya and Kenyans. These are acts of treason, Any person who collaborates with an enemy of Kenya is also an enemy of Kenya and will be met with the swift, full and unmitigated wrath of law,” warned the Government Spokesman.
He vowed the Government will soon make public names of traitors who are working with the neighbouring countries to bring down the government.
Elsewhere, The National Alliance (TNA) party Secretary General Onyango Oloo criticised Cord leader Raila Odinga saying he is fighting for his political relevance through Uhuru Park parallel rally.
“This country has never had two parallel group meetings during public holidays since independence hence the one Raila is keen to lead on Wednesday will be for nothing but a fight to regain political relevance,” he said.
Speaking during a vernacular radio morning talk show, Oloo questioned the motive behind Cord in conducting a separate rally besides the Madaraka Day Celebrations.
But Homa Bay Women’s Representative Gladys Wanga and Ndhiwa MP Agostino Neto dismissed Oloo’s remarks saying they don’t add any value in Kenya today.
Neto told both Oloo and Interior and Coordination Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery to respect Raila.
“Nkaissery was in ODM before he was poached by Jubilee hence he should desist from using police to threaten Raila and Kenyans,” Neto said.
Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma and his Ndhiwa counterpart Neto hinted that Cord would use the rally to be held at Uhuru Park reflect on the gains made by the country since independence.
Kaluma said the rally would be a true reflection of the status and progress on the country and hence must be allowed go on.
“We are telling Nkaissery to read the Constitution between the lines and understand it well that it provides Kenyans the opportunity to celebrate the national holiday at a place of choice,” Kaluma said.
“Kenyans are not ready to be dictated under rules which do not befit this 21st Century. The Interior CS must observe the rights of the citizens while issuing some of the orders,” Neto added.