#Maandamano: Ugunja protesters, leaders demand Opiyo Wandayi release

ugunja protests

Residents of Ugunja, Siaya County, take to the streets, in a demand for the release of MP Opiyo Wandayi following his arrest on March 20, 2023 as Azimio coalition leader Raila Odinga led protests against the government.

Photo credit: Kassim Adinasi | Nation Media Group

Residents of Ugunja, Siaya County, Monday took to the streets demanding the release of lawmaker Opiyo Wandayi, who was arrested earlier for participating in protests against the government.

The demonstrations stalled business in Ugunja town, with the transport sector worst-hit as the busy Kisumu-Busia road was a no-go zone for public service vehicles.

The demonstrators began a peaceful procession from Ugunja town and proceeded to Ugunja Police Station, chanting anti-government slogans.

“We are demanding the immediate release of our member of Parliament without any conditions. Picketing is allowed in our Constitution. Not even the government can take away that right from the people,” said resident Michael Ouma.

“Let it be known that the demonstrations are not only for Azimio la Umoja supporters. We all know the conditions in the country are unbearable for all of us. Our lawmaker was speaking on behalf of the millions of Kenyans who are on the brink of losing lives because they lack food.”

The protesters blamed the government for the high cost of living, saying the Kenya Kwanza government is yet to fulfill its campaign promises.

“President William Ruto is busy politicking while the people are dying of hunger. This is the language that he understands best so we shall continue until he is ready to listen to disgruntled members of the public.”

Police arrested Mr Wandayi alongside three other Azimio leaders - Kilifi Senator and minority leader Justice (Rtd) Stewart Madzayo, Kilifi South MP Ken Chonga and Malindi MP Amina Mnyazi.

Migori Woman Representative Fatuma Mohamed confronted the officers, saying they did not break any law and should be released immediately.

“We want our members out of police custody. They broke no law,” said Ms Mohamed.