The National Super Alliance and the police appear set for a clash after the opposition vowed to defy an order barring them from holding a public rally in the capital Nairobi.
The police order is the second in less than 24 hours after Nasa supporters were banned from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, where they are scheduled to receive Nasa chief Raila Odinga and his deputy Kalonzo Musyoka on Friday.
Inspector-General of police Joseph Boinett on Wednesday warned the coalition against taking the million-man match to JKIA, saying; “the move will undermine security.”
The rally at the historic Kamkunji grounds in Nairobi is a curtain-raiser to a major rally at Uhuru Park to celebrate the return to the country of the Nasa leaders.
Mr Odinga and Kalonzo are set to touch down on Friday morning after a 10-day tour of the United States where he gave lectures and attended meetings with US congressional committees.
Mr Kalonzo has been in Germany on private business.
According to Nasa plan, Mr Odinga’s entourage will head to Uhuru Park through the Outer Ring, Jogoo, Landhies, Haile Selassie roads and Harambee Avenue.
However, Nairobi county police commander Japheth Koome has opposed Nasa plans, saying they will interfere with the ongoing Form 4 national exams.
“The decision to ban the rally was informed by a request by the Kenya National Examinations Council not to allow public events or meetings in the vicinity of schools. Therefore, planned Nasa rally is not permitted,” said Mr Koome.
Mr Koome’s order comes even as the National Resistance Movement wing of Nasa released its itinerary for Thursday and maintained that the Kamukunji rally will go on regardless.
According to Nasa head of communication, there will be a press briefing at noon at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to be followed by a roadshow to Shauri Moyo and later the rally at Kamukunji grounds.
Siaya Senator and Nasa coordination co-chairman James Orengo, while responding to Mr Koome’s order, termed the police move as absurd and unconstitutional.
He assured Nasa supporters that the events for the two days would proceed as planned.
Mr Orengo said the law only requires one to inform the police of their intent to hold a rally, and not seek permission.
“They (police) have been duly notified and unless the same venue has been booked twice on that day, the police have no business purporting to ban it,” said Mr Orengo.