CORD to hold Raila welcoming rally after IG David Kimaiyo lifts ban on political gatherings
IG David Kimaiyo.
The Government has finally backed down on what was boiling to be a nasty confrontation between the police and opposition supporters by lifting an earlier ban on all political gatherings.
This means that both the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) and the Jubilee Alliance will go ahead with their planned showdown rallies planned for the weekend.
The change of heart came after a meeting between Inspector General of Police (IG) David Kimaiyo and CORD Co-principal Moses Wetangula, Siaya senetor James Orengo and forrmer National Assembly deputy speaker Faraha Maalim earlier Wednesday morning.
CORD appeared to outwit Jubilee and engaged the IG at his office where the police boss agreed to withdraw the cancellation of the planned rallies, paving the way for a showdown between Jubilee and CORD supporters.
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CORD is planning for a major rally at Uhuru Park dedicated to welcome former Prime Minister Raila Odinga who has been in a sabbatical leave in the US for close to three months.
Earlier on Tuesday, Kimaiyo issued a ban on all political rallies saying police had reliable intelligence reports that criminal elements planned to take advantage of the rallies to cause disturbance.
In a brief statement declaring the ban on political rallies, Kimaiyo cited insecurity as the cause of the cancellation, adding that they had information that criminal elements might take advantage of the rallies to cause mayhem.
“I have cancelled all political parties’ rallies until further notice due to security reasons,” said Kimaiyo in the statement. He cited the provisions of the Public Order Act, CAP 56 as the law that allowed him to ban the meetings,” Kimaiyo had said on Tuesday.
But CORD leaders had indicated they would defy the order on the ban and go ahead with their planned series of rallies which will cap with a major meeting on Saturday to welcome former Prime Minister Raila Odinga. The opposition had furiously rejected the ban as tantamount to authoritarian rule and aimed at frustrating their grand reception of their leader.
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The coalition will now hold its rally at the Historic Uhuru Park on Saturday after their efforts to book KICC grounds where they had initially planned to hold the reception hit the wall.
Cord is mobilising its supporters from across the country through vernacular radio stations to travel to the city for the rally, significant with political symbolism, to unveil a rebranded and more reenergised opposition after months of a lull.
Addressing the press outside parliament buildings after the meeting with the IG, Wetangula said the Saturday rally will go ahead as planned and urged CORD supporters to turn up in large numbers and observe peace.
He described their meeting with Kimaiyo as ‘cordial’saying the IG had given them the nod to hold their rally including many other planned afterwards across the country.
“We held fruitful discussions with the IG on the broad range of issues regarding a statement that surrounded the cancellation of our rallies, but we are happy to report to our supporters and Kenyans that we have the assurance that our meetings will take place,” Wetangula said.
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Machakos Senator Johnston Muthama said that the Cord team is meeting today to finalise plans for Raila’s grand reception and the Saturday rally.
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CORD Raila Odinga political rallies