Saba Saba: Nyanza divided over outcome


KISUMU COUNTY: The outcome of Coalition for Reform and Democracy’s Saba Saba rally held at Uhuru Park last week has divided opinion in Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard.

While some political and religious leaders have lauded the rally saying it provided a platform for major reforms in the country, others feel its goals were not achieved.

CORD leaders had left their supporters guessing what would happen during the rally that culminated in a 13-point agenda to address the challenges facing the country to be realised through a referendum in a campaign dubbed “Okoa Kenya”.

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But what exactly did CORD supporters, particularly those in Nyanza expect during the much hyped Saba Saba rally?

Kisumu East MP Shakeel Shabbir feels that CORD leaders ought to have done more consultations with their representatives at the grassroots level to ensure the public understood their resolutions.

He said even the MPs allied to the coalition were not aware of the resolutions made by CORD after it failed to convince the Jubilee Government to conduct national dialogue with the opposition outfit.

See Also: Jubilee scoffs at calls for referendum as Wetang’ula says there is no ouster plot
“People feel their dreams have been dashed. It is advisable that the top leaders in the coalition engage other members in coming up with such resolves and not having four people locked in a room and coming up with resolutions,” Shabbir said.
Kisumu County Ford Kenya Vice Chairman Felix Minda said Kenyans were ignorant about what they were anticipating, and ended up getting what they did not know. He says CORD leadership should apologise to Kenyans for the economic disruption occasioned by the Saba Saba rally.

“They had raised anxiety and did not cool it down during the rally. Some people even fled their places of residence for fear of the unknown,” he said

“As grassroots leaders of Ford Kenya, which is a key member of the coalition, we were never certain of what to tell the people and our roles in it,” he added.

ODM interim Secretary General and Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba concurs that the decisions for national dialogue, which later culminated in a push for national referendum, were made hurriedly.

“As CORD, we must avoid hurried decisions not thoroughly screened internally. Some efforts like the push for national dialogue could have been handled better to deliver the desired results. If not carefully calculated, the referendum journey may also run into headwinds,” Namwamba said.

Mr Jared Okello, who lost in the petition challenging Nyando MP Fred Outa’s election in the Supreme Court last week, asked CORD to shelve its push for a referendum after allegedly failing Kenyans at the Saba Saba rally.

“It is now emerging that CORD is championing for the rights of few individuals in the coalition to ascend to power instead of addressing the challenges facing the country,” he said.

Holy Ghost Coptic Church leader Father John Pesa said many people expected that July 7, would mark the end of the problems facing the country.

“You don’t have to create fear in people to have things solved. People thought the Opposition would take over Government and when this never happened, everybody who believed in the coalition now feels disappointed,” claims Pesa.

However, Kabondo-Kasipul MP Silvance Osele says celebrating the day was a major step in recognising Kenyans who fought for multiparty democracy.

Mbita MP Millie Odhiambo believes the rally was successful in the push to unchain Kenyans from serious challenges facing them.

“Those claiming Saba Saba failed should tell us what they expected us to achieve that we did not,” said Odhiambo.

“The Government has read the mood of Kenyans, that they are tired of oppression, tribalism and insecurity,” said Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo.

See Also: Jubilee scoffs at calls for referendum as Wetang’ula says there is no ouster plot
People have expressed their desire to exercise the supreme power given to them by the Constitution to change the leadership of this country,” he added.

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