The much publicised political rally that was to be held in Kakamega town today aborted at the last minute after the Amani National Congress (ANC) party leadership pulled out.
The rally had been organised by the ‘Kieleweke’ team, which comprises leaders supporting the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga, and opposed to the ‘Tanga Tanga’ team, which backs Deputy President William Ruto’s 2022 presidential quest.
The Saturday Standard learnt that the rally was called off after it emerged that ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi would not attend.
Among the rally’s agenda was to call for a truce between ANC leadership and embattled Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi, who faces suspension from the party.
But it emerged that by inviting Mudavadi to the rally, it would have softened ground for Osotsi and have the ANC leader coerced to not allow the party to take further action on the legislator.
A source said Mudavadi was only told of the event on Thursday evening.
“Former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth called Mudavadi on Thursday evening telling him of the planned rally and asked him to attend. He (Mudavadi) informed Mr Kenneth that he was not aware of the rally and that even if it was so, the area MP (Lurambi) Titus Khamala and a host of other ANC MPs were to be in Mombasa this weekend for a consultative meeting,” said the source.
“Having not been convinced by Kenneth to attend, nominated MP Maina Kamanda called him with the same message and request. He also turned it down after he disclosed to him that the ‘Kieleweke’ team wanted to also attack Ruto-allied MPs.”
Back in Kakamega, a well organised publicity campaign for the rally by Senator Cleophas Malala’s team had made tours across the county, rallying residents to attend.
According to the source, it was Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli’s call to Mudavadi that laid open the second agenda of the rally; handshake between Mudavadi and Osotsi.
“After the call from Kamanda, the party leader was called by Atwoli who disclosed that he wanted to attend the rally in Kakamega and use it to bash the Ruto-allied MPs. Atwoli also disclosed that he had advised Osotsi to call a press conference to seek a truce with the party leadership and apologise to him (Mudavadi),” said the source.
On Thursday morning, Osotsi, accompanied by Malala, held a media briefing where he said he would not appeal the High Court ruling that stayed the decision by ANC to dethrone him of the party’s secretary general position.
It was further noted that Atwoli tried to reach out to Mudavadi to have the party go slow on Osotsi. Party insiders also say Malala might be next on the disciplinary table, following his close ties with ODM party leadership and having in the past taken the ANC leadership head-on when it expelled Osotsi.
The efforts of the three leaders to convince Mudavadi to attend the rally together with a host of ANC legislators did not yield fruit, forcing Senator Malala to cancel the rally yesterday in another press conference.
ANC Secretary General Barrack Muluka said the party leadership had not been consulted about the rally and that the party MPs from the region had a planned a meeting in Mombasa this weekend.
“All I am seeing with the event organisers is a situation where Mudavadi was to be pushed to a fix at the dais, and forced in the glare of the cameras to a handshake with the nominated MP, hence jeopardize the party disciplinary mechanism,” said Muluka.
He said Mudavadi read mischief in the rally and did not want to be drawn into the pro- or anti-Ruto politics, hence his decision not to attend.
On the fate of Osotsi in ANC, Muluka said as far as the party was concerned, “the MP’s case is closed and Malala is also fixed”.
Malala said he had been compelled to postpone the event since it had generated a lot of interest and more leaders from across the political divide wanted to be roped in.