Raila seeks 10 million signatures 'to remove President Ruto’

Raila Odinga

Azimio la Umoja coalition leader Raila Odinga addresses his supporters at Kamukunji grounds on July 7, 2023.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

Azimio leader Raila Odinga on Friday kicked off an aggressive signature collection bid aimed at ‘withdrawing the country’s sovereignty’ from President William Ruto and his administration.

Mr Odinga said he targets to collect at least 10 million signatures by next month.

He launched the exercise at Nairobi’s historic Kamkunji Grounds where he began a fresh wave of anti-government protests in response to new tax measures introduced by President Ruto.

The Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition party dispatched its luminaries to various parts of the country on Friday to speed up the exercise that is designed to escalate the post-election crisis stemming from the August 9 polls.

Mr Odinga has since declared that the Kenya Kwanza government is illegitimate and asked his supporters not to recognise Dr Ruto and other government officials.

“I will be the first to sign this petition to remove Ruto from power. I want by next month, we get to 10 million signatories and get this rogue government out of power,” Mr Odinga said.

“We want to tell them the sovereign power does not belong to MPs but the people and the people are tired and they're going to take back their power. We also demanded that the cost of living be reduced. Instead, the government has added all the taxes they can think of to oppress Kenyans,” charged Mr Odinga.

His running mate in the August poll Martha Karua was in her home county of Kirinyaga to lead the opposition supporters in the signature collection.

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka was also expected to lead the exercise in Machakos while ODM deputy party leader Wycliffe Oparanya was leading another team in Kakamega.

Mr Oparanya led the opposition supporters in staging a protest against the administration at Mumias bus park.

Mr Musyoka's ally, Kathiani MP Robert Mbui, said the new wave of rallies is part of the coalition’s push to collect the signatures in a bid to impeach President Ruto.

20-40 million signatures

"We want to launch a programme to collect 20-40 million signatures to impeach those holding offices,” said Mr Mbui.

Article 145 of the constitution, however, does not list signature collection as part of the requirement for impeaching a president.

The constitution provides that “a member of the National Assembly, supported by at least a third of all the members, may move a motion for the impeachment of the President.”

If such a motion is supported by at least two-thirds of all the members of the National Assembly, the Speaker shall inform the Speaker of the Senate of that resolution within two days.

The President shall, however, continue to perform the functions of the office pending the outcome of the proceedings in the Senate, which would result in the formation of a special committee of 11 members to investigate the charges against the President.

Dr Ruto recently dismissed the push by the opposition to remove him from office as impossible.

In an interview with France 24 in Paris, President Ruto said the opposition should stop entertaining any thoughts of toppling him.

He said, although the August 9 poll was closely contested, Kenyans settled on him to lead the country in the next five years.

“I have no problem with Raila Odinga. I have no problem with him organising protests. There are protests here in Paris. I have just asked Raila and the company not to engage in violence and destruction of property. That is all because we are a democracy,” Dr Ruto said.

By Moses Nyamori, Steve Otieno, George Munene and Isaac Wale