Opposition leader Raila Odinga was Thursday snubbed at the 54th Madaraka Day celebrations held at Kabiruini showground in Nyeri County.
Both President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto uncharacteristically failed to acknowledge the National Super Alliance (NASA) presidential candidate.
Donning a navy blue suit and a cowboy hat, Raila sat away from the main dais to the left of Uhuru beside National Police Service Chairman Johnstone Kavuludi.
When the function ended, the two leaders left in the opposite direction without shaking hands with Raila opting to leave using the back exit.
In contrast, during the October 20 Mashujaa Day celebrations held in Machakos last year, while Raila was absent from the fete, his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka was given an opportunity to address the crowd.
It was expected that Raila would be acknowledged or given an opportunity to make an address but the two leaders stuck to the programme. Only Nyeri Governor Samuel Wamathai and DP Ruto spoke before he introduced Uhuru
Social media users showed displeasure at the ill treatment of Raila Odinga in being denied the opportunity to speak at the Madaraka Day fete in Nyeri.
Kenyans on social media said Ruto should have allowed Raila to speak.
“So Raila Odinga took his valuable time to go to Nyeri to listen yet his attendance was not recognised by anyone,” User Allan Gaya said.
“You go to an event held deep in the enemy’s stronghold and expect to be treated with decorum?”
Facebook user Kitu Kuruka wondered whether Jubilee Party leaders knew the ODM chief was there.
But Juma Moha wrote: “Some people are all over complaining that Raila was not recognised in Nyeri but my question is, ‘as who? Raila is just an Opposition leader…I mean…a normal Kenyan.”
Ken Winda said the NASA flag bearer played his part by attending the function.
“Had he not attended he would have been branded unpatriotic but he beat them to it,” Winda said.