, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 29 – The government has assured of elaborate security measures in the country ahead of the Saba Saba political rally set to be held by opposition leaders in the country.
This follows fears that the rally to be held at the Kamukunji grounds on July 7 will degenerate into mass protests after CORD leader Raila Odinga warned, earlier this month, Kenyans to stay at their homes and not go to work.
On Sunday, Deputy President William Ruto sought to allay the fears by assuring Kenyans that the government will do everything to avert any form of chaos.
“President Uhuru Kenyatta and I agreed, as did all these other leaders, that we will not allow politically instigated violence,” Ruto said when he attended a church service in Kajiado.
Ruto said the country would, “never again,” return to the dark days that followed the 2007 General Election and the public had no reason to worry.
“So you don’t have to worry, those with meetings will hold them, those who want to speak will speak, but Kenya will move forward,” he assured.
He however, urged all leaders to weigh their statements carefully and ensure they served to contribute to the country’s development as opposed to dividing Kenyans.
“Every one of us should ask themselves whether the things we say and do will build or demolish? Unite or Divide? Will it take Kenya forward or backwards?” he posed.
He has urged CORD leaders to wait and try their luck at the ballot in the 2017 General Election, as opposed to “wasting time for Kenyans with rallies and protests” which, he said, have no benefits.
“CORD cannot take Kenya forward, they cannot reinvent Saba Saba. They have no idea how to assist the country. Which new idea do they have? Will demonstrations change Kenya? That road of demonstrations cannot change Kenya,” he insisted, while dismissing the Saba Saba rally which Raila warns could change the country’s dimension.
The Catholic Church had expressed concern that the standoff between the Jubilee government and CORD over the latter’s proposed Saba Saba rally could see a return of the 2008 post election chaos which left over 1000 people dead and uprooted more than half a million others from their homes—mainly in the vast Rift Valley.
“The rising tension between the government and the opposition is causing panic and anxiety to the general public. The government and the opposition should find other amicable ways and means to settle their differences,” the Most Reverend Zacchaeus Okoth, Chairman of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC), had said soon after more than 70 people were killed in Mpeketoni, Lamu County.
Jubilee leaders who were initially opposed to the CORD calls for dialogue appeared to tone down at the weekend, saying they were reaching out to their opposition counterparts for talks so as to end the simmering political tension in the country.
Jubilee Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki on Saturday announced that he had called the majority and minority leaders in both coalitions to convene consultative meetings.
Odinga has always warned that there will be unspecified consequences should the government ignore CORD calls for dialogue, often using metaphors.