Raila Odinga unveils Cord plans for city rally
Cord leaders will ask Kenyans to make a resolution on how to force the government to accept demands for dialogue when the coalition holds its Saba Saba rally in Nairobi next Monday, according to Mr Raila Odinga.
Kenyans would also be given the chance to recommend how their suggestion would be implemented, Mr Odinga told theDaily Nation on Monday in an interview.
He hinted that the country should brace for a repeat of the mass action which eventually forced President Daniel arap Moi to accept a return to multi-party politics in the early 1990s.
The Saba Saba rally will be held at Uhuru Park.
“On Monday, people are coming to demand their rights. It will be a strong demonstration that Kenyans are concerned with the latest developments and the danger it poses for the future,” said the Cord co-principal.
Cord will then implement the resolutions reached.
Mr Odinga did not disclose what the resolutions would be, saying that would pre-empt the views of Kenyans.
Mr Odinga has promised Jubilee “a storm” if it does not convene what he has described as structured dialogue.
The demands for dialogue and the threats of a storm have caused disquiet in Jubilee.
Mr Odinga said the level of insecurity, corruption, disunity, devolution, electoral bias and “amendments to the Constitution” were entering the danger zone and could only be dealt with through national dialogue involving all Kenyans.
He said Cord had given Saba Saba Day as the deadline for the talks, arguing that the Monday rally, which he wants declared a public holiday, would be the culmination of “consultative rallies” with Kenyans on the “crisis”.
“Once assembled (at Uhuru Park), representatives of the people will speak and a resolution will be made. I don’t want to pre-empt what the resolution of the gathering of the people of Kenya will be,” he said.
Pressed further about the resolution, he said: “It will be a resolution to avert the catastrophe of sliding back to the dark days of dictatorship. Let us cross that bridge when we come to it.”
Mr Odinga said the rally would bring together representatives of farmers, workers, women, youth, civil society and religious leaders who Cord leaders had consulted through the rallies.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy, Mr William Ruto and Jubilee MPs are opposed to the rally, arguing that it could result in chaos.
They have also questioned the platform on which the former Prime Minister is demanding dialogue, instead saying that issues raised by Cord can be addressed in Parliament.
DEADLINE FOR DIALOGUE
On Monday, Mr Odinga said: “Is there a case for dialogue? Our answer is yes. We have done a representative sample through rallies and the verdict is Yes. Our deadline for dialogue is Saba Saba Day. If dialogue takes place before, we will still hold the rally to say that is what we wanted. If it (dialogue) doesn’t, Saba Saba Day will be for the people to confirm that we need dialogue.”
At the weekend, President Kenyatta dismissed the dialogue calls, arguing that the Jubilee administration was not interested in political theatrics. Anyone with issues to discuss, he said, was welcome to State House.
“We cannot spend all the time as a country politicking as if we are in an election period when we concluded elections a long time ago,” he said.
Mr Ruto stated that no leader was elected by mistake and those in office should focus on developing Kenya instead of wasting time politicking.
“If it is Saba Saba, we heard of it 20 years ago. This demonstrates that they have nothing new to tell Kenyans. We will not spend our time on useless controversies,” he said.
But Mr Odinga argued that Saba Saba Day was historically important, signifying the fight for the second liberation from the dictatorship of President Moi.
He claimed that President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto were part of the past system. That was why, he said, Parliament passed amendments to the Kenya Police Service to give the President powers on who becomes the Inspector General of Police, had enacted the Public Benefits Organisation Act and encroached on media freedom.
“We want to see if we are back to where we were (in 1990). We can see the red light is on the wall and the danger must be stopped,” he said.