Cleophas Malala tells off Raila Odinga on having a public holiday on 20th march

Cleophas Malala, the Secretary-General of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Party, has told off Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga over Monday “public holiday” remarks.

Odinga plans to hold protests in the capital, Nairobi, to push the government to reduce the cost of living and embrace an inclusive process in selecting IEBC commissioners who will replace the seven who have since vacated office though resignation, end of term or removal by tribunal.

Speaking in Siaya County on Tuesday, March 14, Odinga asked his supporters not to open their businesses on Monday, March 20 as it would be a “public holiday”.

He was responding to a call by NARC Kenya leader Martha Karua who asked him to declare the day a public holiday to provide room for Kenyans to attend the mass protests.

Karua said, “We ask you, your excellency, to declare that day [Monday, 20 March] a public holiday so we can get on with this matter [anti-govt demos]. We can’t have rigged elections year in, year out.”

The former Justice Minister reiterated that Azimio won the presidential contest and failure to open the servers leaves them little option but to rally their supporters to the streets to seek justice. 

She said the mass action is not for Raila’s benefit but for the interest of the electorate whose choice of the ballot was violated. 

Raila said the mass action will take the shape of street demonstrations, picketing, boycotts, disobedience, peaceful petitions, and sit-ins. 

“Take note that on the March 20, 2023, we have a date with destiny in Nairobi. On that day, our supporters throughout the country shall stage a massive procession in Nairobi for a legitimate and inclusive government. Save the date,” he said. 

The secretary-general of the ruling party UDA, has now told off the former prime minister over his remarks.

“Monday, March 20 will be a normal working day. There won’t be any holiday, whatsoever,” Malala said during a press conference in Nairobi.

The former Kakamega Senator challenged Odinga to bring to the demonstrations members of his family to prove how “serious” he is with his quest.

Under the Kenyan law, it’s only the Interior Cabinet Secretary that can communicate a public holiday through a Gazette Notice.

During the Wednesday press briefing, Malala also addressed claims of highhandedness in UDA following his recent remarks that affiliate parties in Kenya Kwanza should fold and join the ruling party.

“We are not necessarily interested in parties folding up. We only want their members to join UDA. If you don’t want to fold your party, it is fine. However, we, as UDA, will still seek to bring on board your members,” he said.

Former KANU Secretary-General Nick Salat was unveiled as a member of UDA during the press conference.

In his speech, Salat urged Odinga to rescind his decision of holding demonstrations on March 20, saying “not all grievances can be addressed through protests”.

A photo of the Secretary of the UDA party Cleophas Malala

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