ODM leader Raila Odinga has indefinitely pushed back a planned political meeting in Kakamega over COVID-19 fears, the party has said.
This comes barely a day after Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta extended the suspension on all physical public gatherings including political rallies and campaign meetings for another 60 days in a move aimed at flattening the COVID-19 curve.
In a statement to newsrooms on Wednesday, August 18, ODM party Secretary General Edwin Sifuna said the party is committed to complying with the Ministry of Health guidelines with regards to the containment of the COVID-19 virus.
“The Kakamega political meeting scheduled for Friday, August 20, has been postponed indefinitely,” read the statement as seen by Kivumbi.co.ke.
Sifuna also said that the meeting that was expected to take place in Homa Bay County today will continue as planned.
“However, in light of the fact that arrangements for the meeting tomorrow (now today) were already complete, it has been resolved that the meeting at Sikri, Homa Bay shall proceed as planned, but strictly in accordance with Ministry of Health guidelines,” the Sifuna added.
On Sunday, August 15, ODM party secretary for political affairs Opiyo Wandayi announced that Rail Odinga will embark on a series of meet the people activities starting this week in his strongholds of Nyanza and Western regions to bolster his political base and lock out competitors.
President Kenyatta, in a statement to newsrooms on Wednesday, August 18, noted that recent reports have shown infections have increased across several counties due to a breach of Ministry of Health guidelines.
“All other social gatherings, including weddings, celebrations of marriage or traditional unions, ceremonies of rites of passage, funeral/cremation ceremonies, and all other similar events or ceremonies, shall strictly adhere to the 100-person attendance limit as prescribed,” he said.
Uhuru said these just hours after the High Court had declared his ban on political gatherings in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 as illegal and unconstitutional.
“…Public Order Act Cap 56 of the Laws of Kenya to contain, restrict and prohibit public gatherings, meetings, and processions in the name of combating Covid-19 and containing the weaponization of public gatherings are unlawful,
“Unconstitutional and in violation of Articles 10(2)(a) and 245(2)(6) and (4) of the Constitution for directing the law enforcement officers on how to discharge their duties,” read the court ruling by Judge Antony Mrima.