Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga walked out early from a party hosted by Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero on the eve of Kenya’s 50th independent anniversary in what appeared to be a protest over protocol.
Reports from people who attended the Governor’s Ball on Wednesday night say Mr Odinga was kept far away from the high table and was not treated as a VIP on arrival at Kenyatta International Conference Centre, the venue of the Wednesday evening function. Multiple sources said that when Mr Odinga arrived at the venue, he did not find any senior ranking official to receive him.
The sources said some Nairobi County Assembly members quickly took over and after receiving the former PM, led him into the ballroom, only to find no seat reserved for him either at the high table or on any of the reserved tables. Mr Odinga was directed to table 24 where he joined Cabinet secretaries Hassan Wario, Najib Balala, former Nairobi mayors and some Nairobi county representatives.
There were only six seats on the high table, for President Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret, Deputy President William Ruto and his wife Rachel and Dr Kidero and his wife. About 30 minutes after Mr Odinga took his seat, Dr Kidero’s aides seemed to have realised there was protocol hitch and quickly rearranged the high table, fixing a seat for Mr Odinga on the extreme right.
Dr Kidero and his wife, Susan, sat between the President and Mr Odinga. Former Nairobi Mayor Aladwa, who attended the bash, said: “The former PM should be respected. If he is invited, he should be accorded the respect he deserves. For someone of his stature, he ought to have had his seat on the high table. “It was not a good picture. Even us, the former mayors despite having been invited, the governor did not recognise our presence, let alone introduce us.” – Daily Nation.