- The rally will be staged at Jevanjee.
- Azimio will pitch camp in Kakamega over the weekend
Azimio leader Raila Odinga will Wednesday take his first prayer rally to the Nairobi Central Business District (CBD) as his political war against President William Ruto enters a defining stage.
The former Prime Minister will lead other opposition luminaries and a legion of supporters for the first time to the city CBD in what is feared might evolve into running battles with law enforces who have severally warned against disruption of businesses.
Nairobi ODM chairman George Aladwa confirmed they will converge at Jevanjee Gardens from 9 am urging supporters to throng the venue for the crucial event that will end by mid-day.
“I want to assure you that the prayer rally will be peaceful and we don’t anticipate any incidence,” Aladwa who is also the Makadara MP told the Star.
Initially, the opposition had planned to conduct the prayer rally at the gate of Anniversary Towers, the headquarters of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) – a plan that was vacated over the weekend.
Instead, the Azimio said they will be at the historic Jevanjee Gardens and urged its supporters to turn up in large numbers.
The rally coached as a "call for prayers" appears to be a direct response to the looming reconstitution of the commission, which Azimio insists favours the Executive.
Last week Raila called on Kenyans to stand firm and defeat the ‘electoral theft’ and to ensure the country does not return to the dark single-party dictatorship days.
“We have shown beyond doubt elections were rigged, it doesn’t matter how many times Mr (William) Ruto shouts, how many times he prays. The prayer is not going to help him get away with theft,” the ODM chief said last week.
“Kenyans must defend electoral justice, people fought for a long time to bring multi-party back to this country and they are not going to surrender that again and take this country back to the era of single-party dictatorship where elections were manipulated.”
Jevanjee Gardens is synonymous with members of Bunge La Wananchi who have ganged up with the opposition in agitating for what they term electoral justice.
Most of the Bunge La Wanachi members subscribed to the Azimio radical wing christened Movement for Defense and Democracy (MDD) composed mainly of youthful activists.
“The Prayer rally earlier scheduled for Jevanjee Gardens in Nairobi on Wednesday, 22nd February 2023, remains,” Raila’s spokesperson Dennis Onyango said in a statement.
From Nairobi, Raila will take his Public Barazas to Western Kenya over the weekend where he will pitch camps in Kakamega County on February 25.
Initially, Azimio was to have the rally in Mombasa but was rescheduled in what organizers said was to allow for proper coordination.
"To better coordinate its activities, the party made a decision to clear with western Kenya, before proceeding to other parts of the country," reads the statement.