A voter registration drive organised by Vihiga Senator George Khaniri and attended by Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi ended prematurely on Saturday after the news of the death of Mr Khaniri’s mother, Ms Josephine Kageha, was made public at the event.
The senator had just addressed the crowd at Municipal Grounds in Mbale, Vihiga County when Mr Mudavadi broke the sad news, sending the crowd into deep silence.
Mr Khaniri had just announced he had joined Mr Mudavadi’s ANC after remaining independent for months.
It is during this time that the senator broke into tears as leaders after another took the microphone to make their condolences.
Mr Mudavadi shelved his political speech and opted to give out his time to leaders to console the senator.
Mr Orengo said: Take heart brother (Khaniri). It is sad. We are together. Remain strong during this trying moment.”
He added: “We in the opposition, we are on a course to remove Jubilee from power. Register as voters in large numbers and leave any form of rigging to us. We know how we will deal with it.”
Mr Orengo said he had worked with Mr Mudavadi closely when the Kanu regime was against the opposition and noted that the renewed unity within the opposition was a sign of change that is beckoning.
The leaders rooted for the strengthening of the formation of the National super alliance (Nasa) that is being propagated by Mr Mudavadi.
On his part, Mr Otuoma said: “Nasa is an idea whose time has come and no one can stop it. Threats of arrest will not deter us.”
He was referring to the recent remarks by President Uhuru Kenyatta that leaders fanning violence would be arrested.
Earlier, while making his defection, Mr Khaniri had informed the well-attended event that his mother is hospitalised and asked for prayers.
The deceased has been in hospital for close to two months after she suffered mild stroke. The was operated on at Medhill hospital in Kapsabet before she was rushed to Nairobi hospital where she died after days in the hospital’s intensive care unit.
“My clarion call has been on unity. I have always wanted Mudavadi and Raila Odinga to work together. When Jubilee took away our party, UDF, I chose to remain independent so as to remain neutral and lead the unity talks,” Mr Khaniri said.
He added: “We have succeeded and Mudavadi has come up with a vessel, Nasa, that is bringing all of us together.”
The senator said he consulted both Mr Mudavadi and Mr Odinga before making this announcement.
“If we want Mudavadi to win the presidency, we must come with our county, Vihiga, clean. I will not be an exception. From today I join ANC,” he said.
The gathering went into song and dance as Mr Mudavadi formally received Mr Khaniri into his party.
Several MCAs elected to the Vihiga assembly through ODM and UDF, and who have been working closely with Mr Khaniri, were also received into ANC.