Preparations at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega town are in top gear ahead of tomorrow’s Bukhungu ll meeting.
The event has been likened to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) meeting held at Bukhungu stadium early this year.
Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga led a strong pro-government team in a show of might and determination to seek support for BBI during the January 18 event.
Raila has been invited as the chief guest at today’s meeting, a move that has divided local leaders with some arguing that the former Prime Minister’s presence could spoil events meant for the people of Western.
Today, there was a buzz of activities at Bukhungu stadium, with organisers rushing to erect tents to be used by guests and leaders.
Kakamega Central police commander David Kabene told The Standard that they had issued the event organisers a permit.
“They sought police clearance, and we gave them the green light to hold the meeting as planned. As earlier indicated, we are well prepared to offer adequate security at the stadium,” said Kabene.
He was reluctant to give the exact number of police officers deployed to man the venue.
“It is our secret. All you should know is that we have adequate numbers of officers available,” said Kabene.
Cotu secretary-general Francis Atwoli, the event mastermind, said One Kenya Alliance (OKA) leaders, including Kanu chairman and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya's Moses Wetang’ula, were invited for the meeting.
But there is a possibility of the repeat of January 18 occurrences, where police were forced to disperse some leaders who organised a parallel rally in Mumias town about 30 kilometres away from Bukhungu stadium.
Today, Mumias West Police Commander Stephen Muoni said he was unaware of a political event within Mumias.
“We have a football tournament taking place at the Mumias Sports Complex. It is not a political meeting,” he told The Standard on phone but could not give further details.
But there were reports that Mudavadi and Wetang’ula will grace the Cleophas Malala Super cup finals in Mumias. They have both indicated that they will not attend the Bukhungu ll meeting.
Police fear that the leaders could take the opportunity to make stopovers before addressing their supporters at the Mumias Sports Complex stadium.
The Standard could not immediately establish whether the two leaders would honour Malala’s invite.
Early this year, Mudavadi and Wetang’ula shocked people when they arrived at Bukhungu Stadium for the BBI event despite indicating earlier that they would not attend. They had termed it a gimmick by Atwoli to crown Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya as the Luhya spokesperson.
Some leaders, including Defence CS Eugene Wamalwa, have been piling pressure on Mudavadi and Wetang’ula to consider attending the meeting today.