Nairobi — The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) has vowed to defy the ban by Inspector-General of Police David Kimaiyo and will go ahead with their weekend rallies planned for ex-Prime Minister Raila Odinga's return from the US.
Speaking after a botched meeting with Kimaiyo, CORD principal and Senate Minority Leader Moses Wetangula said: "On Saturday, we are going to have a reception for the former Prime Minister and a rally at Uhuru Park regardless," he said.
Wetangula said Kimaiyo's reason for cancelling the rally went against recent assurances by government officials that the country was secure.
"What he is telling Kenyans and the world is that terrorists are winning and that we are now in a state of panic and we are discouraging public rallies and gatherings because of fear of terrorists," said the Bungoma Senator.
CORD also plans to hold another rally in Kawangware on Friday.
"We did say and we will say it again that we shall not live in fear; we shall not fear to live. We shall not act in fear, we shall not fear to act in any manner that we feel enhances our standing as the alternative leadership in this country."
Siaya Senator James Orengo said the ban was an attempt by government to introduce dictatorship similar to what happened in the 1990s. READ: Police outlaw all political rallies indefinitely.
Orengo added: "I want to tell the Inspector-General and whoever he is acting on behalf of that we have seen this before and we know what to do in the circumstances. We will not be cowed."
The meeting was initially earmarked for the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) but the Opposition had to change the venue because it has been booked for the annual Groove Awards (a gospel music ceremony which President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to attend).
Uhuru Park is currently off limits to the public due to the ongoing rehearsal by the military in preparation for Madaraka Day celebrations set for Sunday.
CORD leaders have been holding political rallies in the city as they prepare their supporters to welcome the coalition leader on his return from the United States on Saturday.
CORD officials said the coalition will continue to hold major rallies in Nairobi, Mombasa and in Western regions to engage the people on corruption, insecurity, government dysfunction and attempts by the Jubilee administration to scuttle devolution.
Odinga's deputy in the coalition, former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka will on Friday lead another rally in Kawangware. The rally is meant to prepare CORD followers for the return of their leader.
A team led by acting Cord leader Anyang' Nyong'o and Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero was expected to meet to draft the final itinerary for Odinga once he arrives.