MEETING RESCHEDULED

Kikuyu elders to host Raila in Nyeri in mid-January 2021

Council hopes that cases of Covid-19 will have gone down by that time

In Summary
  • Elders are in the meantime drumming up support for the Building Bridges Initiative both in Central and Nyanza.
  • Meeting had been scheduled for November 14 but was postponed in new measures to combat the second wave of Covid-19.
ODM leader Raila Odinga during a meeting with Kikuyu elders at his home in Bondo
ODM leader Raila Odinga during a meeting with Kikuyu elders at his home in Bondo
Image: COURTESY

The much-anticipated visit by ODM leader Raila Odinga and Luo elders to Nyeri has been pushed to mid-January next year.

The hosts—the Kikuyu Council of Elders—said they settled on the period hoping that cases of Covid-19 will have reduced significantly by then.

The meeting had been scheduled for November 14 but was postponed after President Uhuru Kenyatta announced new measures to combat the second wave of the contagion.

Uhuru, on November 4, suspended gatherings and rallies for a period of 60 days. He directed that anyone wishing to hold such meetings should do so in town halls and must observe Covid-19 protocols.

Kikuyu Council of Elders chairman Wachira Kiago and his Luo counterpart Opiyo Otondi had indicated that they would continue with plans to hold the meeting.

On Tuesday, Kikuyu elders secretary general Peter Munga said they will hold the event at the earliest possible time.

“The President will be addressing the nation again in the first week of January. Our meeting will depend on what he will say, but we are planning to have the event in mid-January,” he said.

As many as 1,000 guests are expected at the ceremony at Kabiru-ini Showground. The event will also bring together women, the youth, politicians, businessmen and opinion shapers from Nyanza and Central regions.

Munga said all arrangements had been completed before new Covid-19 measures were announced. “We had prepared the venue and even held meetings with the security teams."

Kiago said elders are in the meantime drumming up support for the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) — both in Central and Nyanza.

“We are eagerly waiting for the day but in the meantime, we are asking people to read and understand the BBI [report]. There is so much propaganda being peddled by some politicians,” he said.

Munga reiterated Kiago's sentiments, saying elders have been dispatched to drum up support for the BBI proposals.

“The meeting by Kikuyu and Luo elders is in the spirit of the BBI. It is the best thing that could happen to the country,” he said.

“The only people who are not for the BBI are those who are not for shared prosperity. The BBI brings equality and inclusion and will empower the youth.”

He said elders from Central are disturbed by the “lies” people are being told about the document.

Though the elders are insisting that the event in Nyeri is purely cultural, they have not ruled out advising the youth on political matters. Observers have said the ceremony in Nyeri might have major political implications for the 2022 General Election.

The delegation that visited Raila on October 10 in Bondo, Siaya county, publicly declared its intention to work with the ODM party leader and his community. A section of politicians from the Mt Kenya region is, however, opposed to the meetings.

Former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo criticised the visit by Kikuyu elders to Raila's rural home. He said some people are keen to please the ruling class while dividing the country. The Service Party leader Mwangi Kiunjuri also censured the visit.

But Kiago maintained that the idea of reuniting the two communities has been supported by the political class. He reiterated that the two communities want to work together with the assistance of elected leaders to end political divisions that have strained their ties.

 

(Edited by F'Orieny)