Saturday, 5 July 2014

Raila and his Saba Saba Day

CORD Movement What is their strategic thrust on July 7 and after? Yes, they have told the country to “brace up for a return to the ‘90s.” At the best, this could mean a return to mass protests – sometimes even violent protests. At the worst, it could mean just about anything catastrophic. The Opposition engaged this style to force Kanu to introduce multiparty democracy in 1991.Spoilt by the trappings and benefits of political power, Raila, Kalonzo and Wetang’ula are elbowing for space at the Jubilee dining table. They have accordingly crafted a populist sounding agenda to energise their search for space and relevance.Then politicians Kenneth Matiba and Charles Rubia were arrested on July 4, 1990 because of planning to hold a rally whose agenda was to campaign for the return to multiparty politics, the country was gripped by tension.

Matiba was arrested at his College House office while Rubia was picked up at Muthaiga Golf Club. The following day, minister of State Jackson Angaine announced their detention without trial. The situation worsened two days later when more multiparty, crusaders, Raila Odinga, John Khaminwa and Mohamed Ibrahim, were arrested for taking part in organising the July 7 rally at Nairobi’s Kamukunji grounds.
But the tension in Kenya then is nothing compared to what the country is experiencing 24 years later as the Opposition Cord prepares to hold a rally at Uhuru Park tomorrow.  Nothing underlines the level of tension than reports that people are leaving certain areas in droves for fear of what might happen tomorrow.Another indicator that tensions are at an all-time high are the reports that the National Police Service is planning to flood the city with some 15,000 police officers to maintain the peace during the Opposition rally.
Led by Raila, one of the arrestees of the original Saba Saba, the Opposition are holding the rally to push the government to agree to a structured national dialogue on a number of issues including insecurity, high cost of living, corruption, inclusiveness in government appointments and the fate of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
On Thursday, the leaders added the need to address irresponsible borrowing, historical injustices and implementation of the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) to their list of demands on the Jubilee administration. The government side has rebuffed the calls for dialogue saying talks can only be held under existing constitutional structures like Parliament.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has also indicated that he is open to informal talks with Opposition leaders at State House over “a cup of tea”.  The Saba Saba rally will be the culmination of a series of rallies held across the country since May 30 when Raila returned from the United States where had been for close to three months.It was during the rally held to welcome him back home that the Opposition first made the dialogue call. Several rallies later, the country is in the grip of uncertainty. The sharp turning point appears to have been the heinous killings in Mpeketoni Lamu on June 16 and 17 which the government blamed on politics and ethnic incitement even as the Opposition insisted it was the work of al Shabaab.

The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy ( CORD) has declared that the Monday Saba Saba rally would be a defining moment in the politics of the country. Coalition principals former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula said at a rally in Kisumu Saturday that they would use constitutional means to spearhead change in the country.
The supreme power is vested in the people of Kenya which they can exercise directly or indirectly to put whoever they want in power,” Raila said. He said the country was faced with serious challenges which must be addressed collectively and promised that the Saba Saba rally would be peaceful, and urged CORD supporters and Kenyans not to panic. “Our previous rallies have been peaceful and we do not have any intention to cause chaos on Monday,” he stated. International watch See also: Do you like what you see on Saba Saba? The former Prime Minister maintained that the rally would be a consultative forum to engage the public on the country’s governance, contrary to the heated political meetings they have been holding across the country. “We will have representatives from various sectors in the country who will present the challenges they are facing and propose the means to resolve them,” he said.

 At the same time, Raila said they do not need security at Uhuru Park because no bad incident has been reported in their previous rallies. The Government has indicated that it would deploy 15,000 police officers to beef up security at the rally. Musyoka warned the Government against causing chaos on Saba Saba day and then blame it on CORD, saying such a scheme will backfire. “Uhuru Park will be under international watch. Any harm caused by the Government will destroy it completely,” Mr Musyoka said. He termed as an act of witchcraft the Friday’s rituals performed by some religious leaders at Uhuru Park, saying it was a big shame to the country. “They should cleanse themselves, or whatever bad they wish to happen during the rally will backfire on them,” said Musyoka. The coalition principals said the courts were being used by the State to intimidate them by warning that the trio would be held responsible in the event of any violence at Monday’s rally.

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