Chaos and teargas briefly marred opposition chief Raila Odinga’s Friday visit to Kiambu County, one of the vote-rich counties in Kenya, ahead of his much-publicised mass action on Monday that seeks to pressure the Kenya Kwanza government to bring down the cost of living.
Mr Odinga, who lost the August Presidential election to the incumbent President William Ruto, kicked off his rallies in Ruaka before his motorcade snaked its way through Kiambu town, Kirigiti, Ruiru and later Githurai 45 estate.
In Githurai 45, the dais, from where he was to address his supporters, was destroyed by rowdy youths.
In Kiambu town, police briefly lobbed a teargas canister but Mr Odinga and his team stayed put and addressed a crowd. He condemned the teargas incident.
Determined to loot
Mr Odinga said the planned Monday protests seek to liberate Kenyans from a bad regime that was determined to loot for selfish gain.
He maintained that he won in the August poll but his victory was stolen by the incumbent.
Mr Odinga’s petition at the Supreme Court was unanimously rejected by the court with all the judges upholding the IEBC declaration of Dr Ruto as president.
In all the areas he toured on Friday in the vast county, Mr Odinga appealed to the locals to turn up in large numbers and support the protests.
“On Monday, our mass action will be peaceful and we have no intention of destroying anyone's business…we will be seeking to liberate Kenyans from a bad regime that is stealing and exploiting them and is unable to control the high cost of living. I heard some people saying that we will destroy the Kikuyu businesses. Kikuyus voted for me. They are my people. Our business on Monday will be to get back the stolen victory and pressure the government to lower the cost of living,” Mr Odinga went on.
Frustrated by the current government
He vowed that he would not back down on mass action saying he was acting on behalf of Kenyans who are frustrated by the current government.
“Kenyans are crying. The state of the economy is frustrating and even if they try to frustrate me, I won't relent on what I have decided to do,” he added.
Mr Odinga was accompanied by his former running mate and Narc Kenya party leader Martha Karua, Wiper Party Leader Kalonzo Musyoka, former Defence CS Eugene Wamalwa and other Azimio leaders.
Former Ndaragwa legislator Jeremiah Kioni told the crowd in Kiambu that their visit to the county had the blessings of retired president Uhuru Kenyatta –himself a resident of the county-- who he said had sent his greetings to the Kiambu people ahead of the rally.
Ms Karua, on her part, said that the Kenya Kwanza brigade lied to Kenya through a fictitious manifesto that they are now finding hard to implement.
“They stole our election and lied to Kenyans that they would lower the price of foodstuffs which has not happened. We want to have a massive demonstration to show our displeasure with this administration,” Ms Karua said.
Mr Wamalwa said that Dr Ruto nominated 50 CASs and none of them was a common man as he had indicated during Kenya Kwanza campaign rallies.
“We did not see any boda boda or mama mboga in the selection. Ruto should be putting money aside to help the poor and not help akina (the likes of Evans) Kidero,” Mr Wamalwa said.