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Nasa vows to go on with city rally despite police warning

Nasa co-principal Moses Wetang’ula has insisted that the coalition’s rally at the Jacaranda grounds in Embakasi, Nairobi, will go on Tuesday as planned.

He said no amount of police intimidation will stop the opposition from holding the meeting.

Speaking at the Kimwanga Catholic Church in Bumula Sub-County on Monday, Mr Wetang’ula said the opposition will use all constitutional means to meet and address their supporters.

He said National Super Alliance co-principals Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi and Kalonzo Musyoka, as well as Siaya Senator James Orengo, are among the politicians who will address the rally.

“We are planning prayers for our supporters who were shot dead during protests. We will also fund-raise for the victims’ families so that they can hold a befitting send-off for their loved ones,” he said.

As Nasa will be holding its rally at the Jacaranda grounds, leaders from across the globe will be at the Kasarani stadium to witness the swearing-in of President Uhuru Kenyatta for his second term.

EXCESSIVE FORCE

Mr Wetang’ula scoffed at police officers, whom he said use excessive force when dealing with Nasa supporters. He went on to accuse them of killing many opposition backers.

“The police’s work is to protect the lives and properties of Kenyans and not killing innocent people as has been witnessed in the country recently,” he said.

Mr Wetang’ula, who is also the Bungoma senator, asked Nasa supporters to turn up in large numbers and make the Jacaranda rally a success.

“The meeting will go on as planned and efforts by Nairobi police commander Japheth Koome to stop the event will not succeed. We have not done anything illegal to warrant banning of our rally. We just want to hold prayers for the departed souls,” said Mr Wetang’ula.

The coalition’s CEO, Mr Norman Magaya, and lawyer Edwin Sifuna reinforced Mr Wetang’ula’s statement, saying they had notified the police.

They said they will go on with the meeting irrespective of whether the police seal off the grounds or not.

‘DETERMINED’

“We are determined to go on with our meeting. We are done with all the logistics and, in fact, the police are not required to respond. We don’t care what Mr Koome and his team do,” said Mr Sifuna, who notified the police of the meeting on November 25.

The Jacaranda meeting is a culmination of a series of memorial services held in other parts of the country.

Nasa claims that 54 people have been killed between November 17 and 21. The figure, according to the coalition, includes 18 who were killed on November 17 as the police tried to block supporters who were welcoming Mr Odinga from a 10-day US tour from accessing Uhuru Park for a public rally.

Others are said to have lost their lives at the hands of unknown assailants, as they protested against killings in Mathare and Lucky Summer estates in Nairobi.

However, the police have denied using live bullets in the incidents. The police noted that those who died while they were welcoming Mr Odinga back home had been stoned.

Mr Magaya maintained that Embakasi and Soweto police stations had been notified about today’s rally, with copies made for Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet and Mr Koome.

“The programme begins at 9am, when families of those killed will be transported to the venue. Whatever Uhuru will be telling Kenyans will be irrelevant as he did not meet the constitutional requirements to be elected,” said Mr Magaya.

PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM

At the same time, a section of Nasa leaders has revealed a fresh plan to push for constitutional changes to introduce a parliamentary system of government in the country.

The leaders, drawn from Ford Kenya, yesterday said the winner-take-it-all presidential system of governance is not good for the country because it creates instability after five years.

The described the presidential system as dangerous.

The group, led by Mr Wetang’ula, spoke at the Sentrim Elementaita Lodge in Nakuru County after a one- day retreat.

“This winner-take-it-all presidential system is dangerous, opaque and can plunge this country into chaos,” said Mr Wetang’ula.

“We are working with like-minded legislators from both sides of the political divide to have a raft of constitutional changes necessary to embrace a parliamentary system of governance,” he added.

Mr Wetang’ula noted that there was need for the changes to accommodate more people in the leadership of the country.

He said a parliamentary system would create a healthier political environment for national integration and unity in diversity.

However, this is not the first time the idea has been fronted. Last month, National Council of Churches of Kenya secretary-general Canon Peter Karanja suggested that the Executive should be expanded to include a Prime Minister, two deputies and a leader of the opposition.

He said this would foster unity and peace.