Raila Odinga discusses Thika, Githurai stoning

The NASA leader was forced to flee the two towns after Jubilee slogan-chanting youth pelted his motorcade with stones.

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NASA leader Raila Odinga, /TWITTER

The National Super Alliance (NASA) leaders on Thursday, July 13, painted Jubilee strongholds with their coalition colours but things quickly turned ugly.

Trouble started when Raila Odinga and others reached Kenol in Murang’a, where they ran into a hostile crowd that chanted pro-Jubilee slogans. But that was only a sign of what was awaiting him as he proceeded with his tour.

Raila Odinga
Raila Odinga after he was unveiled as the Opposition Presidential candidate for the August 8 General Election in Uhuru Park on April 27. PHOTO: JACK OWUOR/THE STAR

He reached Thika town a few moments later where residents interrupted his address, they heckled the former premier with “Tano tena” and “Tuko pamoja” [Five more years, We are one] chants, two phrases that have become synonymous with incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta’s campaigns. The crowd then started pelting stones at him before being whisked away by his bodyguards and police.

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After fleeing Thika, Raila’s entourage went to Githurai where waiting youth also stoned the Opposition leaders’ cars, forcing the police to intervene, bodyguards also shot in the air as the Nasa presidential candidate’s entourage sped off.

Hours later, Raila seemed to take the unfortunate incidents in a stride, he hopped on social media to share a few sentiments on what had happened through a post seen by Zipo.co.ke. He said:

“We took our campaign of change to Kiambu County, a Jubilee stronghold. Out of 5 stops, two, Thika and Githurai were engulfed in unseemly violence. The groups of young people who attacked our convoy with stones and other weapons were obviously organised. While the campaign season has seen incidents of heckling, this is the first time such violence has been witnessed.

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“However, we thank the people of Kiambu for coming out to listen to our great ideas on how to change our current circumstances. We in NASA have a good narrative to tell the people of Kenya across our 47 counties and we are excited at every opportunity to share our message that this election is about changing the direction of this country,

“Peaceful protest and the occasional heckling is part of freedom of speech and is protected by the constitution. As a seasoned politician, I have had my fair share of heckling. However it’s another matter when people come to rallies armed to cause violence. I am asking both our supporters and Jubilee’s to be calm at opposing rallies. Make your opinion be known if you must. It’s part of a democratic process of engaging competing opinions. Organised violence has no place in this process,” wrote Raila Odinga.

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Not one to let controversy just pass, Gatundu South Member of Parliament jumped on the matter, he caused a stir online after saying that from now on, he will be accompanying Raila Odinga to his Nasa rallies whenever he is in central Kenya so that he can deal with hecklers.

“This is not the way we’re brought up and socialized. Where have you visited lately?” Kuria posed after the chaos against Raila were reported.