NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 20 – A civil society group, Nubian Rights Forum based in Kibera, has asked Raila Odinga to ensure leaders addressing the planned Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) rallies only preach peace.
They say that this will avoid raising political temperatures in the area which is still healing from the 2007-2008 post election violence.
The forum’s Chairman Shaffi Ali Hussein says Odinga should change his approach and instead engage the Government in a sombre manner.
“It is evident there is looming tension in various places of this country following the call for national dialogue by the Opposition. It is a noble course; however we do not concur with what the Opposition has been doing,” he said.
“According to Article 1(1) of the Constitution, all sovereignty powers belong to the people of this nation and should be exercised in accordance to the Constitution. It is saddening and raises concern that even struggling to get the new Constitution and being in the front line for the same, Raila Odinga is going against the very Constitution he fought for.”
Addressing journalists on Friday, Hussein called on members of the public to ignore any declarations for a national holiday on July 7 since it is the President alone who can declare one as per the Constitution.
“It is of concern that instead of preaching peace during this dark time in our country the Opposition is spreading divisive politics and propaganda that may lead us to relive the dark events of the 2007-2008,” he lamented.
“The Opposition is clearly hiding behind the noble idea of having dialogue to spread tension among Kenyans.”
He said Odinga should not, “abuse the loyalty he enjoys from his supporters and not to take advantage of the fondness that his supporters feel towards him to plant seeds of hatred and ethnic division in their minds.”
“He should know his words are taken at heart by his supporters and should use this chance to preach reconciliation.”
On her part, Maalaseh Hamida a member of the forum urged the Opposition to, “have the rallies but instead preach peace and integration since it is known that Kenya has not healed from the happenings of the post election violence.”
“It is good as the Opposition to be a watchdog of the people and should make sure that the government is delivering on its duties but CORD is clearly failing on how it’s conducting this duty.”
Members of the public who spoke to Capital FM News from the area have called on leaders to ensure the country does not go back to the dark days of the 2007-2008 violence.
“We should not engage in violence. When there is war our leaders will just take their kids out of this country, we are the ones who suffer,” Fatma Talib said.
Another said, “We support calls for dialogue but you don’t go insulting or sayings it’s a must. Let the former Prime Minister approach the Government in a restrained way.”
“The President must come out firmly and ensure the country remains peaceful, we are not ready for violence. It should not even happen again,” Enock Ogeto appealed.