Inside Ruto's plan to stop return of Azimio 'maandamano' protests

Musalia Mudavadi

Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi and Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir during a press briefing on the looming anti-government protests. 

Photo credit: Winnie Atieno | Nation Media Group

The Kenya Kwanza administration is now reaching out to Azimio governors to stop the resumption of weekly demonstrations called by their leader Raila Odinga after the end of the Holy Month of Ramadhan.

Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi met Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir in Mombasa while Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale met Governor Gideon Mung’aro and other Coast ODM leaders in Kilifi in what is seen as a strategy to win over the region.

In Mombasa, Mr Mudavadi praised the governor for shunning the demonstrations as he urged Kenyans to denounce the opposition protests.

Mr Mudavadi warned the protests could plunge the country into political uncertainty, citing Sudan which is currently in conflict.

However, he lauded Governor Nassir for ‘banning’ the opposition protests in Mombasa. He said the national government will support the Mombasa County boss in his bid to develop the port city.

“We commend the governor and his team. You have done us proud by seriously moderating the political temperatures in the country. Mombasa is a gateway to the country and the entire region, so any disruption has got a significant impact on the economy of the country and EAC, including South Sudan, Burundi DRC and Rwanda,” said Mr Mudavadi.

He said any disruption in the port city will disrupt supply chains in the EAC region.

“It is important we encourage and support you. We need to move forward as a nation. Let us give the governor time to work and deliver. Let us not distract or divert him. He has a rigorous performance contract,” he added.

However, Mr Nassir, who was elected on an ODM ticket, vowed not to participate in any demonstrations organised by his political party, insisting that he is busy focusing on addressing the challenges affecting residents.

“I need to ensure that the people of Mombasa will be able to grow but I will not deny anyone their constitutional right,” said Mr Nassir.

Mr Mudavadi urged all the Coast governors to work with President William Ruto’s government to uplift the economy.

The Prime Cabinet Secretary said the resuscitation of the economy depends on political stability.

He said Kenyans are facing tough economic times, noting that engaging in unmeaningful demonstrations is counter-productive.

During an Iftar dinner at Burhani Sports Club in Mombasa, the Prime Cabinet Secretary lashed out at Azimio leaders for bringing back the International Criminal Court talk.

“You are trying to instigate chaos and create a spark that will lead to disruptions of normalcy. President William Ruto and many Kenyans have restrained themselves, trying to ensure the country remains peaceful. It is time politicians restrain themselves from driving the country back into such dark days,” said Mr Mudavadi.

He said Mr Odinga is not above the law, warning him against daring the State.

Mr Mudavadi urged the Azimio leader to accept and move on, saying Dr Ruto is the duly elected President, urging Kenyans not to allow an individual to destroy the country.

He said Azimio’s call for negotiations similar to the Kofi Annan-led Serena talks is misplaced.

“That is an exercise in futility. The circumstances prevailing in Kenya today are nowhere near the circumstances we were facing in 2007/2008,” said Mr Mudavadi.

He urged President Ruto to act firmly and decisively.

“Our people need development and progress, not protests,” said Mr Mudavadi.