Kenya: Clash Looms as Ruto Allies Vow to Hold Parallel Rally

17 January 2020

Allies of Deputy President William Ruto planning a parallel meeting in Mumias, Kakamega County, on Saturday have vowed to proceed with it despite its cancellation by the police.

This now sets the stage for a confrontation with the law enforcement authority.

The lawmakers accused the police of sabotaging their meeting despite being the first group to get permission.

"We were the first group to organise the meeting in Mumias. The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) meeting in Bukhungu is solely meant to undermine our meeting," said Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali.

Former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale read mischief in the ongoing public sensitisation forums on the BBI report, saying they are intended to mutilate the original draft that was released by President Uhuru Kenyatta at the Bomas of Kenya.

MISPLACED PRIORITY

Speaking at a press conference in Chavakali, Vihiga County, Dr Khalwale said the meetings were part of an ODM agenda intended to create the position of an all-powerful prime minister and a three-tier government in a move he said would place much burden on the taxpayer.

Dr Khalwale's claims come ahead of the BBI event to be held in Kakamega and which has caused a political storm in Western Kenya.

In Nairobi, Mr Washiali, who is also the National Assembly Majority Whip, claimed the Mumias meeting is purely meant to discuss the plight of the people of Western, while terming the Bukhungu meeting political.

"Our meeting will continue as scheduled and the meeting in Bukhungu is purely meant to undermine ours," Mr Washiali claimed.

The lawmakers argued that with the gazettement of the BBI task force by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday, the consultative meeting on the report should be left to them to collect views from the public in a structured way.

USURPING TASK FORCE

The legislators maintained they are not opposed to the BBI report but complained that the process has been hijacked by Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) politicians.

"How can you take views from more than 3,000 people in a rally and correctly capture what they have said. The only committee tasked to collect views from the public is the one gazetted by President Kenyatta," added Mr Washiali.

The MPs maintained that they will give the rally a wide berth, saying they will only attend meetings called by the steering committee and not politicians.

Speaking at Serena Hotel in Nairobi, MPs Sakwa Bunyasi (Nambale), Mr Washiali, Alfred Agoi (Sabatia), John Waluke (Sirisia), Beatrice Adagala (Vihiga), Omboko Milemba (Emuhaya), Dan Wanyama (Webuye), Ernest Kagesi (Vihiga) and Christopher Aseka (Khwisero) said it is only the steering committee that has the mandate to collect views from the public.

"Let us all give this committee a chance to work. Let us not deny it the space to work. In this regard, we must delink the BBI from other political outfits," Mr Bunyasi said.

AVOIDING RETIREMENT

Former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa has also maintained the meeting will proceed as scheduled.

"The meeting will go on because we have the permit duly given to us by the police in Mumias. We have no communication on the cancellation," Mr Echesa said.

Citing a likelihood of violence, the police on Wednesday cancelled permits issued to some politicians from the region.

Officer commanding Mumias Police Station Albert Chebii cancelled the procession that was to converge at the gates of the factory, citing security reasons.

"You are advised to inform your participants of the changes and comply accordingly. Any person contravening this directive will be held criminally responsible," Mr Chebii said.

A number of governors are serving their final term and the team opposed to creation of a three tier government believes intention is to accommodate the governors in leadership positions.

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