What you need to know:
- Mr Odinga faults the Head of State over his treatment of former principal secretaries.
The ODM leader warns that he will not sit and watch President Ruto return Kenya to the “dark old days”.
Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition leader Raila Odinga outlined what he referred to as his “beef” with President William Ruto’s administration and declared an all-out war with the launch of anti-government pushbacks on Wednesday.
Speaking when he campaigned for Jubilee Party’s Utawala ward rep candidate Patrick Karani at Fagilia grounds in Embakasi East yesterday, Mr Odinga told his supporters to prepare for an epic battle with President Ruto’s government, urging them to turn out in large numbers at Kamukunji grounds on Wednesday.
Mr Odinga listed six key issues he said he will engage the public on at the rally and the parallel Jamhuri Day celebrations at the same venue on December 12.
He cited the high cost of living, unfair treatment of the four electoral agency commissioners, the arbitrary sacking of civil servants, failure to provide interest-free loans as promised during campaigns, ethnic imbalance in state jobs and importation of genetically modified (GM) maize as some of his major concerns.
Accompanied by Embakasi East MP Babu Owino, Vihiga Senator Godfrey Osotsi, Mr Karani and a host of MCAs, Mr Odinga declared that he won the August 9 elections and that the coalition had completed an audit of the results and will tell Kenyans how his votes were stolen.
“We have done an audit and have established how our votes were stolen and the number of the stolen votes. We shall reveal it all on Wednesday,” Mr Odinga said. He accused Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati of complicity in the theft of his votes.
Mr Odinga said Kenyans should turn up for his rallies ready to resist a “scheme by President Ruto’s government to take the country back to the old days of dictatorship.”
“The cost of living has really gone up and Ruto has failed to return the price of maize flour to Sh70 as promised during campaigns.
“When we made our promises we knew where the money would come from but these people never imagined being President until Chebukati helped them,” Mr Odinga charged.
On the Hustler Fund, he accused the President of hoodwinking the public for failing to provide an interest-free loan.
Mr Odinga further faulted the Head of State over his treatment of former principal secretaries.
“It is unfortunate that Ruto has sent all of them packing and employed 51 others, mostly his cronies, showing a very bad picture of ethnic imbalance. How can we not have a single Kisii as a permanent secretary? Don’t they deserve such a position in government?” he asked.
He also took issue with the planned importation of GM maize as he accused President Ruto of selling fertiliser donations to Kenyan farmers instead of giving them out free of charge.
The ODM leader warned that he will not sit and watch Dr Ruto return Kenya to the “dark old days”.
“Signs of dictatorship can already be seen. We don’t want Kenya to return to the dark old days, that’s why on Wednesday, December 7 I want you to join us in Kamukunji to chat our way forward,” he said.
The President and Mr Odinga have traded words over the past weeks over the fate of the four IEBC commissioners – Vice-Chairperson Juliana Cherera, Francis Wanderi, Irene Massit and Justus Nyang’aya who has since resigned.
The two have been going at each other online over the planned rallies.
On Saturday, President Ruto took to Twitter to accuse Mr Odinga of threatening his administration with demonstrations after his failed presidential bid
“Even with the system/deep state, you lost the election. Stop deluding yourself and lying,” he charged. He accused Mr Odinga of attempting to overturn the people’s will after the August 9 elections using “rogue commissioners”.
Already the President has suspended the commissioners and formed a tribunal to investigate their conduct.
Mr Odinga replied by accusing the Head of State of going against his stance following the
2007 elections. Using a video clip of President Ruto disapproving of the results of the 2007 General Election, Mr Odinga accused the President of talking from both sides of the mouth on the current impasse.
The Saturday spat came barely a week after the two attacked each other on the same platform.
In a post on November 25, President Ruto said that under his administration, the rule of law will be the norm, adding that Mr Odinga was among the lords of impunity, who destroyed oversight institutions “using handshake fraud”.
Moments later, Mr Odinga replied to the tweet: “There is due process and natural justice, things aren’t just done at the whims of the executive. The rule of law must prevail and not your jungle laws that you want to institute to subjugate Kenyans to a conveyor belt system of elections come 2027.”