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Jubilee, Cord MPs set to clash at Uhuru Park on Madaraka Day

Jubilee and Cord politicians are headed for a clash at Uhuru Park as opposition leader Raila Odinga reiterated his coalition will be preaching peace, love and unity at a parallel Madaraka Day rally there on Wednesday.

On Sunday, a group of Jubilee members of Parliament said Mr Odinga’s presiding over such a rally was tantamount to declaring himself president.

Speaking in Mombasa on Sunday, Mr Odinga said the rally was not a sign of defiance or disrespect to the government of the day.

But the Jubilee MPs announced that they will attend a prayer crusade slated for the venue in Nairobi on the same day to protest against attempts by the Opposition to hold a political rally there.

FED UP

Starehe MP Maina Kamanda told journalists that Jubilee leaders were fed up with what they said were diversionary tactics by Cord and vowed to protect the presidency from incessant attacks from the Opposition.

“Never in the history of this country has the Opposition ever held parallel celebrations to mark a national holiday, as that would be akin to declaring yourself president,” said Mr Kamanda. “That is something we will oppose at all costs.”

He added that the venue had been legitimately booked for the prayer rally and Cord co-principal Odinga had no business interfering in the business of the Church.

“This planned celebration by Cord, as well as the anti-IEBC protests, are just tactics to ensure that the country is run into chaos,” said Mr Kamanda. “Raila wants a nusu-mkate government and we will not give it to him.”

Mr Kamanda was flanked by Dagoretti South and Embakasi South MPs, Denis Waweru and John Ndirangu, respectively, who both made strong statements against Cord’s planned rally.

POLITICAL SHENANIGANS

“We will be at Uhuru Park to pray on Wednesday and we will not entertain disruptive political shenanigans by Cord to use the grounds on that day,” said Mr Waweru.

Nairobi County has been thrown into confusion over whether the grounds have been booked by evangelist Lucy wa Ngunjiri of Prayers Beyond Boundaries Ministries for a three-day rally from tomorrow or by Cord to hold parallel Madaraka Day celebrations on Wednesday.

Cord politicians said at the weekend they will hold the rally despite a letter from the Nairobi County police boss stating that the grounds were unavailable.

Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, who is a member of Cord, however threw a spanner in the works by saying the venue would be reserved for Cord’s use.

Reacting to Mr Odinga’s determination to hold a rally that would be parallel to one to be addressed by President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nakuru, the Interior Cabinet Secretary, Maj-Gen (Rtd) Joseph Nkaissery, said the government was only concerned about insecurity.

CROSSROADS

“Kenya is now at a crossroads,” said Mr Odinga at ACK Mombasa Memorial Cathedral, where he attended Sunday Mass.

“There is a crisis in the country and we need a solution. We need a country where everybody matters.”

He called on the clergy to intensify its voice on the IEBC debate, saying it was crucial and needed at this time when the country is facing a crisis in its electoral process.