At least 30 governors and over half of members of parliament have reportedly confirmed attendance to former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s Azimio La Umoja national convention on Friday.
Organisers say more than 40 senators, 200 members of the National Assembly and 500 ward representatives had confirmed that they would attend the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader’s event at Kasarani stadium, during which he is expected to announce his candidature for President.
The technical committee organising the meeting, led by Suna East MP Junet Mohammed and a team of legislators from ODM, Jubilee, Ford Kenya among other parties that back Mr Odinga’s presidential bid yesterday inspected the venue.
“Preparations are complete and the stage is being set up. I can authoritatively tell you that, out of the 40 governors we invited, more than 30 have confirmed attendance together with 40 senators, more than 200 MPs and over 1,500 MCAs,” Mr Mohammed said.
ODM deputy party leader Wycliffe Oparanya, also a member of the technical committee, told the Nation separately that members of the One Kenya Alliance (OKA), whom President Kenyatta has tried to unite with Mr Odinga, had also been invited.
OKA consists of party leaders Musalia Mudavadi (Amani National Congress), Gideon Moi (Kanu), Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya) and Cyrus Jirongo (United Democratic Party).
ODM national chairman John Mbadi said some cabinet secretaries could also attend.
Mr Mbadi, who had earlier chaired an ODM Parliamentary Group meeting (PG) at Chungwa House, revealed that, in addition to the 10,250 invited special delegates from across the country, ODM legislators were each allowed to invite 10 people.
“We are getting five people per ward from the 1,450 wards, that’s 7,250 plus other 3,000 guests, which brings the number to 10,250 people. The PG also resolved to give MPs additional 10 slots each as special guests,” said Mr Mbadi.
“We resolved that, where we have governors, they will take charge of the five people per ward and facilitate their travel to Nairobi. Where we don’t have governors, MPs and senators will do this. Where we don’t have any elected leader like in about five counties, the party will fully finance the expenses of the delegates,” Mr Mbadi explained.
He was evasive on whether President Uhuru Kenyatta will attend.
“In my view, if the president attends, it obviously becomes a state function and ceases to be Raila’s event. We want to give Raila space. I think it will not be appropriate for [the President] to come because it will change the architecture [of the event].”
Former Ford Kenya deputy party leader Richard Onyonka, Jubilee nominated MP Maina Kamanda and a host of ODM legislators toured the venue.
“My party Jubilee and ODM are working together to ensure this event is a success and we hope to see a mammoth crowd on Friday,” Mr Kamanda said.