By Moses Njagih, Standard, Saturday, May 26 2012 at 22:40 GMT+3
After the dramatic cancellation of the Limuru 2B Gema meeting last month, the organisers are planning to return to Limuru and finally hold their meeting.
The group will on Wednesday be heading to Jumuia Conference Centre in Limuru, where police evicted them under fumes of teargas.
After the aborted meeting disrupted by security officials over claim it was a security threat, the organisers are exuding confidence that this time, they will push through their agenda.
The organisers plan to meet in Limuru only days after Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru, who is viewed as the groups target in some quarters, set in motion his bid for the presidency by launching The National Alliance party.
But Ngunjiri Wambugu, one of the organisers of the Limuru 2B dismisses claims their meeting targets the DPM.
“We want to deliberately move the socio-political conversation from ‘tribe-thinking’ to ‘Kenyan-thinking’ by challenging tribal narratives from within and across several communities,” says Ngunjiri.
He adds: “After the meeting, we will then launch a movement to challenge tribalism propagated by ethnic chieftains”.
Right to assembly
The disruption and cancellation of the first meeting planned for April 18 attracted condemnation, with the organisers perceived to be “leftists” in Central Kenya politics, complaining the move was an affront to their right to assembly.
In what is seen as a move to insulate the planned meeting from possible cancellation, the group has been waging a battle against security officers in court.
Only last week, High Court Judge Isaac Lenaola ordered Police Commissioner Matthew Iteere to provide security for all those who will wish to assemble for the meeting.
But the court also gave strict conditions the organisers will have to meet before they can assemble, with Justice Lenaola saying they must do it in a peaceful manner and have to be unarmed.
Ngunjiri, who is also the Executive Director of Change Associates, says the requirements stipulated by the court had been met during the earlier meeting.
Wambugu says contrary to police claims, they had followed due process and had asked for security for the meeting they had organised only days after the Limuru 2 championed by official Gema leadership, Uhuru and his supporters.
“We had met these conditions during our earlier meeting, and will meet them again on Wednesday. The police notifications have been hand-delivered to the OCS Tigoni, as required by the law and acknowledged,” said Ngunjiri.
He added: “We have this time gone a step further and hand-delivered copies of this notification to the OCPD Lari and the DC Kiambu West”.
As was the case in the first meeting, Ngunjiri says the key speaker on Wednesday will be retired Anglican Church Archbishop David Gitari, while other political leaders such as former Kabete MP Paul Muite, former Runyenjes MP Njeru Kathangu and Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara will respond.
Coincidentally, the three fiery political leaders were among key subjects in the crusade for multi-party politics in the early 1990s and the push for a new Constitution.
Ngunjiri says other MPs including Mithika Linturi (Igembe South), Dr Kilemi Mwiria (Tigania West) and former MP Maoka Maore will also attend.
Others will include Rosemary Kariuki-Machua (JM Kariuki’s daughter), Evelyne Kimathi (Dedan Kimathi’s daughter), Zarina Patel (Author & Publisher), Hassan Omar (Former KNCHR Commissioner) and Bob Ndolo of the Bob Ndolo Foundation.
Former Mungiki leader Maina Njenga, whose supporters disrupted the first meeting where Uhuru was endorsed as Gema’s preferred presidential aspirant, will also attend.
Njenga has been critical of the manner the first meeting was dispersed, saying the group will not be cowed by police action.
“We have never understood why the meeting had to be cancelled when the agenda was noble,” he recently said.
A Central Kenya MP, who does not subscribe to this group but who argues the meeting should have been allowed, says the cancellation gave credence to claims Uhuru is being protected.
“In some quarters, it has been claimed Uhuru is engaged in a contest for popularity among the youth in Central Kenya with Maina Njenga, which may not be necessarily so given that the two play in completely different leagues,” says the MP.
He added: “The disruption has given credence to the perception that the police are being used in Uhuru’s favour, which may not be the case. It would only be prudent to allow the group to meet.”
Needless to say, this group’s right to assemble under the constitution should not be interfered with again as was shamelessly the case the last time they tried to gather in Limuru.
We are now past the politics of state intimidation and malicious use of state organs to harass and abuse people for the protection and benefit of those in charge of the organs and their masters.