You have only yourself to blame, Nyanza leaders tell Ruto

James Orengo

Siaya Governor James Orengo at a past event.

Photo credit: FilelNation Media Group

Nyanza leaders now say President William Ruto has himself to blame for the June 25 Gen Z uprising that culminated in angry protesters invading Parliament.

The opposition politicians want Dr Ruto, who has always projected the image of a devout Christian, to take responsibility for the deaths of young people who were killed by police bullets.

They demanded that the Gen Zs killed by police bullets be given a state funeral and that flags be flown at half-mast.

Siaya County Governor James Orengo, Senators Okong'o Omogeni (Nyamira), Richard Onyonka (Kisii) and Kitutu Chache South MP Anthony Kibagendi observed that the police used excessive force against peaceful and unarmed protesters who only wanted their voices to be heard.

Speaking at a funeral in Alego Usonga on Friday, June 28, Governor Orengo said: "I had time to visit the victims of the demonstrations. I saw the kind of wounds inflicted on those who died during the demonstrations. It was horrifying". 

Mr Orengo was speaking a day after visiting victims of police brutality at the Kenyatta National Hospital and mortuary in Nairobi.

"The injuries they sustained were frightening to see," he said, painting a picture of how senselessly the police had been ordered to quell the demonstrations.

The governor noted that in his many years as a lawyer, he had visited morgues, including post-mortems, but had never been as frightened as he was by the bodies of the victims of the anti-tax hike protests.

The police used lethal weapons to destroy unarmed civilians, he began.

"As president, you must take responsibility for the deaths; you must compensate for the deaths and for the property that was lost," said Governor Orengo.

He condemned the violence used by the police against the demonstrators, saying it was extreme.
On June 26, President Ruto said only six people had been killed, but human rights organisations reported 23, a figure that rose after the wave of demonstrations on June 27.

While attending another funeral in Kitutu Chache South, Mr Onyonka said, 
"All those who have been killed must be given a state funeral and the national flag must be flown at half-mast!" 

The ODM politician noted that the deceased were acting within the confines of the Constitution when they were killed.

If anything, he argued, it was because of their blood that President Ruto was able to realise how unpopular the 2024 Finance Bill was and ultimately reject it.

President Ruto would have saved the lives of the exterminated young Kenyans if only he had listened to his (Onyonka's) advice a year ago.

"On June 23, 2023, I went on television and said that President Ruto would not be able to govern the country if the concerns of the Abachokoro (Gen Zs) continue to be ignored," the veteran politician said.

The lawmaker explained that President Ruto can solve the mess in the education sector and unemployment among the younger generation by shunning tribalism, corruption and eliminating waste in government. 

Mr Omogeni wants President Ruto to urgently do a self-retrospection to know where he lost his way as all the woes are "self-inflicted".

Omogeni faulted MPs who voted yes to the controversial bill only to be present and clapping at State House when the President climbed down on the issue and rejected it in its entirety. 

"How can you vote yes and clap again when the President has rejected it? Shame on these MPs," Omogeni retorted.

Kitutu Chache South MP Kibagendi, who is a former Ruto aide, said: "The President called me on the phone to tell me to vote yes, but I stood my ground and voted no. We have a President who thinks he can always have his way!"

He continued: "Dr Ruto, you almost ruined our the extent that the youth almost burned this country down."

He urged young people across the Gusii region to resist the urge to join the President's party, UDA, saying nothing good could come out of it.