The fallout between Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his deputy Musalia Mudavadi played out at a funeral ceremony on Saturday as supporters of the two politicians tried to outdo each other.
The chaotic scenes at the burial of Mzee Jason Omwera Muhoro, the father to Nairobi Mayor George Aladwa, disrupted the ceremony for about 10 minutes.
At one point, the pushing and shoving brought down the tent put up to shelter the casket in what was the first meeting between supporters of Mr Odinga and Mr Mudavadi since the latter defected from ODM on Wednesday.
The chaos started as Ikolomani MP Boni Khalwale addressed the crowd in Mr Mudavadi’s Sabatia constituency.
Dr Khalwale directed political jabs at Mr Odinga as he arrived at the venue. By then, Mr Mudavadi had delivered his address and left for Bungoma, where Mr Odinga had been earlier. (READ: Mudavadi Quits ODM: Critics see it as a Blessing
At this point, one of the security men who had formed a cordon around the dais approached Dr Khalwale, grabbed the microphone and roughed him up.
Mr Mudavadi’s supporters joined in the fray, sparking a stampede that disrupted the proceedings as the PM watched. As the commotion was going on, Mr Aladwa got to the dais, took a microphone, and appealed for calm.
He said it was unfortunate that his father’s burial had been turned into the stage for a political fight where opponents of the PM and his deputy were trying to gain mileage.
Mr Aladwa said he supported the PM and expressed confidence that Mr Odinga had the support to win the next General Election.
He said that the notion that the PM had lost ground in Western Province was false, since he still had immense following even in Mr Mudavadi’s Sabatia constituency.
Although many said that the PM’s trip was meant to reach out to voters in Western Province in the wake of Mr Mudavadi’s defection, Mr Odinga said he was in Vihiga to bury Mzee Muhoro.
He said he had no problems with Mr Mudavadi and wished him well in his presidential ambitions. He, however, said that a presidential campaign required support.
“Kibaki, Orengo and Ngilu have in the past gone it alone and lost ... we realised that it was through unity that one can clinch the top seat,” he said.
Mr Odinga added that presidential candidates should tell Kenyans what they stand for and how they would bring about meaningful change rather than directing insults at opponents.
Addressing the gathering before the PM’s arrival, Mr Mudavadi said presidential campaigns should be driven by respect for all aspirants irrespective of their political party affiliation.
He added that he would not engage in confrontational politics. “There was an SMS going round that the youth have gathered some stones and that they would throw them at visitors.
“However, I want to state here categorically that that is not my style of politics. I want politics that promote unity,” he said.
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