Police cancel Mudavadi rally to avert clash with BBI team

Thursday, January 16th, 2020 00:00 |
Nambale MP Sakwa Bunyasi (right) addresses a Luhya MPs’ press conference in Nairobi, yesterday. He is with his Mumias counterpart Ben Washiali. Photo/PD/TABITHA MBATIA

Police yesterday cancelled a parallel rally convened by ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi to counter a Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) forum in Kakamega to avert a “dangerous political confrontation”.  

Mudavadi, his Ford Kenya counterpart Moses Wetang’ula and Jubilee MPs allied to Deputy President William Ruto had scheduled the January 18 meeting at Mumias, Kakamega County, to address the depreciating economy of western Kenya region.

Its timing was coinciding with a BBI forum at Bukhungu Stadium organised by Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Cotu secretary Francis Atwoli and politicians allied to opposition chief Raila Odinga.

The Jubilee, ANC and Ford Kenya MPs, under the Western Kenya Regional Parliamentary Caucus, have dismissed the BBI forums as an ODM rally to champion Raila’s 2022 State House bid.

But according to Oparanya, the meeting will enlighten the locals on the BBI content insisting that the Western region will support referendum without being forced.

“The people of Western will support referendum on BBI without haste for it carries aspirations of common wananchi especially the area that will strengthen devolution that is engine for grassroots growth,” he said yesterday.

The meeting at Nabongo Sports Ground, Mumias sub-county, was scheduled to be addressed by Mudavadi  Wetang’ula,Jubilee chief whip Benjamim Washiali, MPs Sakwa Bunyasi, Titus Khamala, Aseka Wangaya, Geoffrey Omuse, Beatrice Adagala and Tindi Mwale.

Other listed speakers included MPs Enock Kibunguchy, Janet Nangabo, Malulu Injendi, Bernard Shinali, Catherine Wambilianga, Alfred Sambu, Chris Wamalwa, Dan Wanyama, Alfred Agoi, Omboko Milemba, John Waluke and former Kakamega Senator Bony Khalwale. 

But yesterday, police cancelled the planned meeting in a letter signed by Mumias Officer Commanding Station (OCS) Albert Chebii to the organisers.

Scheduled meeting

“This is to notify you that this office has cancelled your permit to carry out the above exercise purportedly scheduled to take place on 18/1/2020 at Nabongo Sports ground starting 0800hrs due to security reasons,” the letter by Mumias Officer Commanding Station Albert Chebii read in part.

It adds: “By this letter be informed that any person contravening this directive will be held criminally responsible,”

The letter is copied Deputy County Commanders (DCCs) Mumias East, West and Matungu among others.  However, the organisers, led by Washiali and his Nambale counterpart Sakwa Bunyasi, have vowed to ignore the police order and proceed with their meeting at Mumias Sugar complex as planned.

The duo claimed the Bukhungu Stadium meeting is meant to undermine the efforts of the local leaders leading from the front in resuscitating the economy of the region.

“We will meet the Mumias Sugar Company receiver manager and discuss matters of its revival before holding a rally at Nabongo Mumia Grounds,” Washiali told a press conference at a Nairobi hotel yesterday.

He added: “We are ready and we are going to Mumias, but we know it is not everything the police will agree to. We have a right and permit that is valid to have the meeting.”

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