A political rally planned by allies of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga in Kakamega on Saturday was cancelled at the last minute after it emerged that organisers could not raise a quorum.
According to sources, the meeting was cancelled because most politicians who were expected to attend were away on official engagements.
The organisers also wanted Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford-Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula to firm up the agenda, according to our sources.
MPs from the Kieleweke team, a loosely formed political alliance between some members of the ruling Jubilee Party and those of opposition coalition National Super Alliance (Nasa), were expected to attend the rally at Amalemba Grounds.
The cancellation was communicated on Friday in a brief statement signed by Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala, who was coordinating the event.
Mr Malala had on Thursday said the rally would attract dozens of MPs opposed to Deputy President William Ruto’s presidential bid.
In his statement, Mr Malala said the decision to call off the meeting was reached after extensive consultations with key stakeholders “and wisdom from political partners”.
The statement read: “It is with profound humility that I announce the postponement of tomorrow’s public rally that was scheduled to take place at Amalemba Grounds till further notice.”
Mr Malala promised to update the media on new developments after consultations with other political leaders.
Sources said Mr Mudavadi had asked that the meeting be postponed to accommodate as many leaders from Western Kenya as possible.
At a last minute meeting to discuss the rally, it was felt that the Kieleweke team members, who wanted to cement their relationship with the opposition during the rally, were held up in various parliamentary meetings at the Coast.
Most of the Kieleweke team MPs were said to be busy attending parliamentary committee forums in Mombasa this weekend and were not in a position to attend the crucial rally.
Sources said Mr Mudavadi, who was scheduled to be the main speaker at the meeting, was expected to speak about the current political dispensation in the country.
“Most of the MPs who would have attended are busy and Musalia said we put it off,” a source close to the planning team opined.
“We don’t want anyone to claim that they were left out,” our source said. Among those who had been expected to attend were Mr Mudavadi, Mr Wetang’ula, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Cotu Secretary-General Francis Atwoli.
In a statement released Friday morning, Ford Kenya Secretary-General Eseli Simiyu and Organising Secretary Chris Mandumandu, however, disowned the rally saying the party was not involved in its planning and agenda setting.
Dr Simiyu said the organisers were not known to the party organs. “As Ford Kenya, we want to distance ourselves from such meetings and caution members of the public that the meetings being organised in Kakamega have no relationship with our party,” he said.
Former Mukurweini MP Kabando wa Kabando also said he was not involved in organising the rally, but he supported its agenda.
“I am not involved in rallies or other physical activities. But I am not opposed to them. By any means, we must alter our motherland’s political landscape,” he said.