Maandamano: Protests to take place Mondays and Thursdays, Raila announces
Azimio leader Raila Odinga has announced that anti-government protests will now take place twice a week -- on Mondays and Thursdays -- as a response to what he cited as "public demand".
Addressing journalists Tuesday at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation in Nairobi, Mr Odinga said the protests will resume next week.
"Fellow Kenyans, in the second phase of our protest, and in response to public demand, we shall now hold the protests every Monday and Thursday beginning next week," he said.
The Azimio leader who was accompanied by his co-principals Martha Karua, Kalonzo Musyoka, Eugene Wamalwa, Wycliffe Oparanya and Edwin Sifuna among a host of other leaders also lauded the media for live coverage of Monday's protests.
Mr Odinga also claimed there was an attempt on his life and that of Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka during the anti-government demos in which one protestor was fatally shot by police on Monday.
"Those responsible must be held to account and there was also an attempt on my life as well as Kalonzo Musyoka's as the police shot at our cars," he alleged.
He has also demanded the unconditional release of those arrested during the protests.
"We have put together a team of security and legal experts to determine the orders given by police that led to the brutality," he said.
"We are going for individual responsibility and culpability for police officers starting with Nairobi police boss Adamson Bungei," he added.
Mr Odinga accused police of orchestrating a brutal crackdown on Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party supporters during Monday’s protests that he said led to the deaths of two protesters.
But police only reported the death of Maseno University third-year student William Mayange, who was shot dead in Kisumu.
On the ongoing recruitment of new IEBC commissioners, Mr Odinga said the opposition will continue fighting the attempt to constitute a “compliant electoral commission.”
The opposition also called on the President to “stop reconstituting the IEBC unilaterally and packing it with his puppets without the involvement of other stakeholders.”
“We demand that the four commissioners who were forced to resign because they differed with [former IEBC chairman Wafula] Chebukati on the results [of the presidential election] must be reinstated,” Mr Odinga said.
Then IEBC vice-chair Juliana Cherera alongside commissioners Francis Wanderi, Justus Nyangaya and Irene Masit were forced out on accusations they had tried to block Dr Ruto’s declaration as President-elect in an attempt to force a runoff vote with his main challenger, Mr Odinga.
Their exit, alongside the retirement of Mr Chebukati and commissioners Moya Bolu and Abdi Guliye, who stood by the declaration of Dr Ruto as President-elect last August, has occasioned seven vacancies at IEBC.
“We maintain that IEBC must open the servers and allow an independent international audit that will, without doubt, prove to Kenyans that Ruto did not win,” the opposition chief said.
He said the coalition has put together a team of security and legal experts to examine the conduct and orders given by police commanders to officers on the streets that led to the brutal crackdown on protesters.
“In this regard, we decry the silence of the Independent Police Oversight Authority and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights on misuse of the police.”
“We are going for individual responsibility and culpability against officers who acted against the Constitution. So far, we have a case to file individual charges against Mr Adamson Bungei, the Nairobi police chief,” the ODM leader said. He added that Azimio will press charges both locally and abroad.
“We will make Mr Bungei and his enablers understand that the days when regimes could brutalise and butcher citizens with impunity are long gone.”
“However, we commend those among the police who showed restraint in their actions and showed respect for the rights of their fellow Kenyans.”
He pointed out that the coalition will continue with the protests to demand that the Kenya Kwanza government reduces the high cost of living, enhances electoral justice, ensures inclusive government, stops arbitrary sacking of civil servants and stands for the defence of democracy.
“We will not relent until this regime understands that the people are hurting and that their suffering must be at the centre of our priorities as a nation. We will push on until the cost of food, fuel and electricity come down,” said Mr Odinga.
He called for a stop to the “ethnicisation and commercialisation” of the public service.
“We will fight for as long as it takes to save this country ... We are determined to lead the fight for inclusive government appointments based on merit,” Mr Odinga said.
He said the arbitrary sacking of civil servants was a pointer to the politicisation of the civil service, which he noted is making career civil servants out-numbered.
“It is killing professionalism and destroying the once proud civil service. We must protect our civil servants from these ills and particularly from tribal discrimination.”
Mr Odinga said the opposition will not tire in its defence of the “hard-won multi-party democracy.”
Ms Karua accused the ruling United Democratic Alliance (UDA) of planning anti-Azimio protests, which she said led to violence.
“When they called for counter-demonstrations, it meant they had planned to have a fight but we commend police officers who showed restraint,” she said.
She pointed out that their resolve to march to State House was still alive “as citizens are entitled to march to any government premises.”
“Government premises are public offices and we have a right to march there,” she said.
Mr Musyoka lauded the media for the live coverage but warned against any media house taking a position.
“What we are saying is [we want] fair reporting. If you take a position, Kenyans too have a position to take. We must also check on the excesses of the media,” the Wiper party leader said.