Kenya`s defiant opposition plans reforms rally despite state ban
NAIROBI, Kenya, 02/15 - A major showdown looms after Kenya`s mainopposition movement, Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya (ODM-K), Wednesdayinsisted on going ahead with its planned public rally for Saturday,defying a government ban on all meetings convened to agitate for minimumconstitutional reforms.
The ODM-K, a coalition of three political parties, has teamed up withcivil society and religious groups, under the aegis of Muungano wa KatibaMpya (Kiswahili for `New Constitution Group`) to agitate forconstitutional reforms ahead of the general election scheduled forDecember.
A day-long meeting attended by ODM-K leaders- Raila Odinga, KalonzoMusyoka, Musalia Mudavadi, William Ruto and Najib Balala, among others-resolved to ignore the edict by Minister for Internal Security JohnMichuki that outlawed street demonstrations and public rallies in thecountry.
Speaking after the meeting, the group`s spokesman, Paul Muite, said theywould not be intimidated into abandoning their course.
The pro-reform group, which met also to lay strategies for the firstpublic rally planned for Nairobi on Saturday, renewed their call toPresident Mwai Kibaki to respond to their demands contained in a letterthey wrote to him last week.
They had demanded in the letter that Kibaki takes charge of the reformsprocess as opposed to giving the task to his lieutenants. Kibaki has yetto react to the demands.
The group is pushing for, among others, greater participation of women inpolitics, independence of the electoral commission, independence ofparliament from the president and, a requirement that a presidentialwinner must garner 51 percent votes, failure to which a re-run is called.