NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 15 – The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) has condemned an incident in Embu, where rowdy youths stoned supporters of Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
The chairman of CORD’s national coordination committee Franklin Bett said he had learnt with disappointment of the disruption at Odinga’s rally.
“This is the greatest height of indiscipline and a lack of respect by those involved in the incident. Mr Odinga just like any other presidential candidate in Kenya has a right to tour any part of this country to ask for votes.”
Bett said such acts of violence were unacceptable in Kenya and should be condemned by all.
“CORD urges its supporters across the country to welcome our opponents warmly and accord them the respect they deserve. CORD stands for peace and democracy and we shall uphold the same during this electioneering period.”
Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka braved attempts to disrupt the campaign rally at Embu town and addressed a huge crowd.
A group of about 500 youths who were chanting ‘Jubilee! Jubilee!’ had gathered at one corner of the Embu municipal stadium and started pelting the CORD supporters with stones but were repulsed by police.
The group seemed to have been incensed by a pronouncement by Mwea parliamentary aspirant Bishop Daniel Njagi who said the region was not a Jubilee stronghold and accused its flag bearer Uhuru Kenyatta of doing little for the region.
Some of the stones narrowly missed two helicopters which were parked in the stadium.
No injuries were reported.
Police led by the Embu police chief formed a buffer zone of about 200 metres between the Jubilee and CORD supporters to allow the luminaries carry on with their meeting.
Former Kangundo MP Johnson Muthama said; “If you think you are helping your candidate by pelting us, you better know that the rest of the country is watching. It is better to listen to what we have to say then accept or ignore it.”
Odinga successfully addressed the crowd and said he had written to the British Prime Minister urging him not to petition a case where Mau Mau fighters are seeking compensation.
“The British government has appealed the ruling and I have talked to the PM because the survivors are now very old and could die before getting justice. He wrote back telling me that we will discuss the issue soon after the March 4 elections,” he said.
He also called on teachers to shelve a planned nationwide strike until the elections are held.
“Teachers want to strike while we are nearing an election. What we have is a caretaker government because there is no Parliament which can discuss the issues,” he appealed.