Raila Odinga postpones Kisii rally as leaders call for tolerance

Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga speaks during a past rally in Galole, Tana River County. [Emmanuel Wanson, Standard]

Azimio has postponed the planned rally at Gusii stadium which was set for Monday, February 13, 2023, to Friday, February 17.

Kisii County ODM party chairperson Kerosi Ondieki said they pushed the rally from Monday to Friday after wide consultations.

“We have held consultations, and we want to give everyone a chance to attend the meeting. Kisii is home to the ODM party, and we would want to listen to every opinion,” said Ondieki

On Friday, Azimio leader Raila Odinga addressed a rally at Mavoko, Machakos county, which is of part a series of people's baraza the coalition has lined up to pile pressure on President William Ruto's government to lower the cost of living.

Addressing Kisumu residents on Saturday, Raila said he would continue with people's baraza to sensitise Kenyans on their democratic rights.

However, a section of Gusii leaders have warned that the Azimio rallies will split the country.

Addressing the Press in Kisii on Sunday, former Governor James Ongwae, said he will support any commitment that will see the completion of development projects by the national government.

“Previously and in the last few months, President William Samoei Ruto has visited various parts of the country and initiated development projects, lately being the neighbouring Luo Nyanza. In some instances, we witnessed the president’s generosity,” he said.

Mr Ongwae welcomed President Ruto to Gusii. “We condemn any attempt to cause uneasiness and whip the emotions of our people with the aim of imagining that they can derail the visit. Omogusii is ready and willing to work with the Government and no doubt any contrary attempt would not be tolerated,” he said.

He urged Gusii leaders and the people to reject attempts to paint the community as rebellious to the Kenya Kwanza administration.

“Omogusii is interested in developmental projects that will address the needs of more than 1.2 million people living within the diminishing land size. We have the highest concentration of people going up to 1,200 persons per square kilometre of land,” he said.

Former Deputy Governor Joash Maangi, who addressed the media separately, called on the Azimio leaders to give time to the government to undertake development projects in the country.

“Barely five months in office, already the community has benefited from government appointments. We do not wish to split the community on political party affiliation. It is time to deliver on our campaign promises. Rallies and demonstrations will only deny our people an opportunity to be appointed to the Kenya Kwanza Government,” said Maangi.

On the alleged raid on former Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi’s residence, they said leaders must pray for tolerance and unity whenever they have been given an opportunity to serve the country.

South Mugirango MP Sylvanus Osoro said that in case of any arrest of leaders the Kenya Kwanza government will do it in a civil way. "They will be called, charged and have them defend themselves. Our systems are independent," he said.

Kitutu Chache North MP Japheth Nyakundi called on politicians and civil servants to behave in a manner that will not destabilise the country.

"As leaders we should always know that our actions should always be in accordance with our Constitution, knowing very well that our deeds will always follow us," he said.

 West Mugirango MP Stephen Mogaka said that Kenya had made major strides in law and shouldn't be taken back.

"We have made big strides in protecting and upholding the law and must not be derailed by some section that would want to pull us back to one state party," he said.