The celebrations of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s birthday in Nairobi were on Sunday, January 7, cut short after police officers lobbed teargas cannisters to disperse a crowd of people.
The crowd had assembled at Nairobi’s CBD to take part in the celebrations arranged by the Orange Democratic Movement Party.
In an earlier statement, ODM had invited members of the public to show up in various places and take part in the cake cutting ceremony.
Taking to his social media account, Nairobi Senator and ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna shared a video of some of the events that transpired during the botched celebrations.
The people who had assembled at the landmark National Archives building took off from the venue running in differnt directions as smoke and teargas sound rent the air.
One brave woman, however, was seen pleading with the police officers for a chance to rescue the cake which was left deserted at the center of the tents pitched by the organizers.
In his statement, Sifuna described the turn of events as the height of pettiness and questioned the motive behind the police move.
“This is the height of pettiness. Kama ulitaka ukatiwe keki si ungesema tu ,” Sifuna said in a post.
ODM’s Director of Communications Philip Etale also confirmed the incident noting that officers armed with anti-riot gear stormed the venue and fired the teargas at “peaceful Kenyans”.
Leaders celebrate Raila’s birthday in Malindi
Elsewhere in Malindi, Kilifi County, Raila Odinga led other senior politicians and leaders in celebrating his 79th birthday.
Among leaders present included ODM’s Deputy Party Leader Ali Hassan Joho and Raila’s wife Mama Ida Odinga.
In the celebrations spread across various parts of the country, ODM had crafted messages expressing their opposition to some government policies.
Among the messages on the cakes included one calling for the reduction of VAT tax charged on fuel products and the housing levy introduced under the Kenya Kwanza government.
At the same time, Kenyans on social media sent their birthday wishes to the former Prime Minister to testify his influence in Kenya’s governance and political space despite his age.