Raila plans mega Mombasa rally to counter Jubilee’s Nairobi merger
MOMBASA: ODM leader Raila Odinga will on Saturday lead his party’s governors, MPs and MCAs in celebrations in Mombasa to mark the party’s 10th anniversary at which a major declaration is expected.
The Orange party has lined up a series of political events at the Coast starting Friday, in what has been described as “a return to the county of its birth”.
The events will culminate in a political rally at Tononoka grounds on Saturday.
Raila’s allies yesterday billed the event dubbed “10 at 10” as the “mother” of all political rallies held by the Orange party as it prepares to take on President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto in next year’s General Election.
The allies said the event would be an extravaganza meant to inspire the hearts and minds of Kenyans.
The mega event will coincide with the launch of the new Jubilee Party by Uhuru and Ruto in Nairobi on Saturday, set to be attended by about 10,000 delegates from the over 10 dissolving political parties.
Yesterday, ODM deputy party leader and Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho said the Opposition would make “a major declaration” that would change the country’s political landscape. But Mr Joho declined to deny or confirm reports that the celebration would culminate in the unveiling of the Opposition’s presidential candidate, saying only, “Wait and see.”
He said all ODM elected leaders had been invited to the meetings.
Wiper Democratic Movement leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula are expected at the event as well as some international guests.
The Orange party’s Director of Elections and Suna East MP Junet Mohamed said the party would first hold a jamboree to mark its 10 years of existence just a week after the party held a similar event in Nairobi.
Mr Mohamed said ODM chose to have the event in Mombasa to prove to Jubilee that the Raila-led party was still the party to beat at the Coast, despite numerous political forays by Uhuru and Ruto last week in the region that overwhelmingly voted for Raila in the last polls.
“The two-day event ODM is set to hold in Mombasa will be the mother of all events it has held in the past and will culminate in a grand rally at Tononoka grounds on Saturday,” said Mohamed.
“For anybody who believes in the values and ideals of ODM, all roads lead to Mombasa on Saturday,” he added.
A text message sent to all ODM elected leaders and which The Standard has seen read in part; “You are cordially invited to the official ODM “10 at 10″ celebration to be held in Mombasa County… the party leader will be in attendance as we mark a decade of ODM. A series of events have been lined up to mark the day with pomp and colour.”
During last Friday’s event, Raila said the next campaigns would be a contest between those opposed to graft and those promoting it. He also cited devolution as a key issue that would sway the polls.
“The event will be proof to Jubilee that ODM is still the party close to the people of the Coast,” he added.
He accused Uhuru and Ruto of promoting a bad political culture of disbanding and creating new parties every electioneering period.
“We want to dispense this culture in Kenyan politics where you have to make a new party with every election,” said Mohamed.
He urged backers to stick with ODM since it was the only party that had remained consistent in promoting democracy and people’s rights. Joho said ODM’s new campaign strategy was to go directly to voters, adding the party was still the most popular in Mombasa and the entire Coast region.
“After the fete dubbed “10 at 10″ we will then start a major campaign to educate or sensitise Kenyans on the need to remember Kenya’s history,” he said.