The 7th of July in Kenya commonly known as ‘’Saba-Saba Day”, is a landmark of Kenya’s second liberation and a reminder to all Kenyans of the struggle the country had for democracy and good governance. On this historic day, in 1990, agitated thousands of Kenyans from different parts of Nairobi and the entire country marched to the famous Kamukunji grounds to demonstrate against the one-party system. Kenyans then wanted the review of the constitution to make Kenya a Multiparty democracy and the release of Kenneth Matiba and Charles Rubia.
Charles Rubia and Kenneth Matiba were the masterminds behind the 1990 ‘’Saba-Saba’’ protests. They were against former president Moi’s rule and government they termed Moi a dictator. These political bigwigs who were in constant communication with Oginga Odinga, Masinde Muliro, Martin Shikukhu and other dissatisfied politicians, constantly worried about the state to no end and they decided to use their mass following to call for pro-democracy demonstrations.
Between May and July 1990, Kenneth Matiba and Charles Rubia announced to the public that they would hold a multiparty rally on Kamukunji grounds, and in early, July 1990, the then government of Kenya led by the late President Moi, tried to call off the demonstrations but this agitated the citizens and made them even more excited for the Saba-Saba rally.
Other active participants to the course were Raila Odinga, Gitobu Imanyara, Kiraitu Murungi, Paul Muite, Mukhisa Kituyi and Gibson Kamau. These leaders were joined by the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), among the other lawyers who were courageous and defiant to the fault, the Current Chief Justice Martha Koome, Martha Karua, Abida Aroni and Nancy Baraza.
The government could no longer withstand the pressure and return, it detained the masterminds of the rally, Kenneth Matiba and Charles Rubia, on the 4th of July 1990, just three days to the Saba-Saba demonstrations.
0n the 7th of July 1990, there were mass demonstrations that began at the Kamukunji grounds that extended to Thika, Kiambu, Nakuru and Nyeri. These demonstrations resulted in confrontations between the common Mwananchi and the police, and over 100 people were killed in the process.
After the ‘’Saba-Saba’’ demonstrations, there was a crackdown on opposition leaders and some people were arrested, while others fled the country. Although there was a lot of bloodshed and detainees, Kenyans finally got what they wanted, Democracy. What prevailed to the amendment of Section 2A of the Kenyan constitution, which was removed to restore multiparty democracy.
History will again repeat itself within a few days as the Chief of Azimio la Umoja Coalition leader, Hon. Raila Odinga has called for ‘’Saba-Saba’’ demonstration on Friday, the 7th of July 2023 that will take place at the Kamukunji grounds.
These demonstrations will be against the government over the high cost of living. Raila cited increasing taxes on consumable goods, fuel and recently announced fare hikes prices as reasons for nationwide demonstration. Raila noted that fare has hiked to 30% and that all Kenyans should back his move to stand against what he has termed as ‘’dictatorship’’ and also reject the newly imposed taxes which have made life unbearable.
Raila defended the legality of the demonstrations arguing that Kenyans will be acting within their constitutional right. He added that the demonstrations will be peaceful. Will the opposition’s Lobbying and Advocacy campaigns take their intended course? For your thought.