What you need to know:
- Deputy President William Ruto braved a hail of stones to access Jacaranda grounds in Nairobi where he held a rally on Sunday June 19, in a day of drama that saw police engage rowdy opposing youth in running battles.
Deputy President William Ruto braved a hail of stones to access Jacaranda grounds in Nairobi where he held a rally yesterday, in a day of drama that saw police engage rowdy opposing youth in running battles.
Dr Ruto’s motorcade, which made its way into the grounds moments past 3pm encountered stone-pelting youth as it snaked its way through the estates in Embakasi.
The DP who had started waving to his supporters atop his car was at one time forced to take cover inside the vehicle to evade stones which were hurled at him.
More anti-riot police were called in to ensure safety of the DP and his supporters.
Two water cannons were also deployed at the venue of the rally for any eventualities as the police kept rowdy youth at bay even as they chanted Azimio slogans as the DP made his address.
As early as 9am, supporters of Raila Odinga-led Azimio la Umoja and those of DP’s Kenya Kwanza Alliance had started streaming into the ground to attend the planned parallel rallies.
Embakasi East MP Babu Owino had insisted that he booked the same venue for a rally, leading to the police move to earlier cordon off the field to avert possible chaos.
Mr Owino booked the venue vide a letter dated June 15, but was forced to call it off at the last minute to avert chaos, giving way to Dr Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza brigade.
Police then allowed access to the venue, even though supporters from opposing camps streamed into the ground leading to chaos which saw Dr Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) candidate for Embakasi East Constituency, Francis Mureithi, hit with a rock on the head.
Police who used teargas to disperse rowdy youths arrested some following the chaotic scenes at the venue that also led to the stoning of a bus which had ferried the DP’s supporters to the ground.
Upon accessing the field at around half past 3pm, a visibly angry DP trained his guns at Mr Odinga, accusing him of hiding behind the State to orchestrate violence by using innocent youths.
In a bare-knuckle targeting Mr Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta, Dr Ruto said that in just 50 days, the country would be liberated from the bondage of ‘two or three families’.
“We want to tell them that no amount of bullets, stones and threats will stop this nation from changing.
“Kenya sio ya familia mbili ama tatu (Kenya does not belong to two or three families), tutaokoa wananchi mpende msipende (We shall save the people whether you like it or not),” Dr Ruto charged.
He went on: “No youth will ever throw stones again. Let our competitors meet us at the ballot and stop this blackmail.”
The DP was accompanied to the rally by his running mate Rigathi Gachagua, Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi, his Ford Kenya counterpart Moses Wetang’ula, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua and a host of Kenya Kwanza leaders and aspirants.
Dr Ruto was more brutal with Mr Odinga, his main opponent in the August 9 elections, asking him to start preparing to go home and cautioning him against “shedding blood of innocent Kenyans.”
“To Raila Odinga, please start planning to go home because victory is for us in just 50 days. You have attacked this young man Francis Mureithi leading him to shed blood. You can't continue to shed blood of the people of Kenya in a futile attempt to be what you can never be. You have shed enough blood already. How much blood do you want to shed? Please go home, you've shed enough blood,” Dr Ruto charged.
Yesterday, UDA Secretary-General Veronica Maina wrote to Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman Wafula Chebukati seeking to have the electoral body disqualify Babu Owino from defending his seat in the August 9 General election
In what they termed as an unlawful interference, the party accused Mr Owino, Azimio-One Kenya Coalition and the National Police Service of blocking access and restraining UDA’s MP candidate for the region, Mr Mureithi, from campaigning at the grounds.
UDA alleged that Mr Owino had also contravened the electoral commission’s code of conduct, which requires candidates to cooperate and liase in good faith with other parties to avoid organising public meetings, demonstrations, rallies or marches to take place at the same time at a similar venue.
“His approach is confrontational and militant in nature and action must be taken... This is the only way the commission can send a strong message to the likes of Babu Owino to desist from ever making such an ill motivated move,” she stated in the letter.
She further complained that the involvement of the police contradicted their mandate of maintaining law and order and preserving peace, terming the deployment of officers to the site as “daring, confrontational and obviously backed by a different command”.
She asked Mr Chebukati to summon the Inspector General of Police over the involvement of the police in the incident.
ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna said they had planned to hold their rally at the venue but called it off after police informed them that it had been cancelled due to double booking.
Mr Owino refuted claims that Mr Odinga’s team was involved in the chaos. “Hired goons were fighting for Ruto’s handouts unfortunately injuring the handouts distributor Francis Mureithi,” Mr Owino told Nation.
Mr Gachagua hailed the police for securing the venue for the rally.
“We want to tell our opponents that their time is up. We thank the police for taking the right measures to allow us attend this rally and we promise to increase their salaries when we take over government,” said Mr Gachagua.
Mr Mudavadi challenged IEBC to take action against candidates orchestrating violence against innocent Kenyans.
“IEBC has mandate to disqualify those who do not abide by the elections code of conduct. We are asking IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati to investigate this matter and take appropriate action,” the ANC leader said.
Mr Wetang’ula said Kenya Kwanza shall personally hold Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai liable for any chaos that happen during the campaigns.
He accused President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga of plotting to continue with the rule of the ‘dynasties’.
“They want to continue with the dynasty rule. A rule by those who were born with a golden spoon in their mouths. Raila must go home as Uhuru also goes back to Gatundu,” Mr Wetang’ula said.
He went on: “They have shown us how to harm a country, we shall show them how to run a country.”