Raila takes his crusade to the people in big political gamble

These issues include the push to have four commissioners at IEBC kicked out of office over their conduct in the August poll, recent appointments to public service, and lifting of the ban on GMO foods, among others. Today's meeting, the first of several, has drawn varied reactions from across the board, with a section of Raila's supporters jittery about his move to checkmate President William Ruto's administration through rallies.

Besides the Kamukunji rally, the ODM leader has also called another meeting on Jamhuri Day, December 12, at Jacaranda Grounds in Nairobi's Kayole estate.

"On December 12 we are going to Jacaranda Gardens in Embakasi. We will be celebrating Jamhuri day with Kenyan patriots and its also going to be a peaceful congregation," Raila said. Yesterday, the government spelt out tough measures that Raila should adhere to should he wish to continue with his planned public meeting.

Speaking at Harambee House yesterday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Prof Kithure Kindiki said the Government will allow the rally at Kamukunji grounds, but would need details of the meeting to ensure adequate security measures are put in place. Kindiki, however, warned that should those attending the meeting violate the law, the Government will deal with them.

"We will remain professional to make sure that those who want to air their grievances are given space so that others who don't agree with them do not interrupt bona fide and lawful activities around demonstrations and freedoms of association and assembly," he said.

Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

MPs Lilian Gogo (Rangwe) and Tom Odege (Nyatike) said the meeting will begin their serious work as the opposition to stop any government's excesses.

"We want to send a strong message that the country must be governed by the rule of law. We will show Ruto that we will hold him accountable for any of his decisions," said Odege.

Political commentator and lawyer Joshua Nyamori says Raila boasts of a strong grassroots network that has given him the power and capability to take on the government.

"Raila's opponents must be willing to invest human, material and financial resources into building new alternative grassroots political networks that can successfully challenge his networks," said Nyamori.

Political analysts Barrack Muluka, however, believes the meetings will likely send him to retirement.

"People get tired when you are doing the same thing frequently and expecting different results. There are people around Raila who want him to continue staying in power and are misadvising him for their own political survival," said Muluka.

[By Harold Odhiambo, Anne Atieno, Olivia Odhiambo, James Omoro and Kamore Maina]