No one is above the law, President Ruto says over Azimio planned protests

President William Ruto

President William Ruto arrives at the Nairobi Securities Exchange grounds for the bell-ringing ceremony to officiate the listing of Laptrust's Income-Real Estate Investment Trust. 

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

President William Ruto has issued a stern warning against planned public protests led by Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Leader Raila Odinga, stating that the government will deal with those who participate firmly.

Speaking just a day after Mr Odinga communicated that beginning next week the demonstrations will be held on Mondays and Thursdays, the President said the government will take “robust” measures to protect businesses and “demonstrate that no one is above the law”.

“I give my commitment that the business and investment environment in Kenya is secure and conducive on a continuous basis. Through the rule of law, the government will take robust measures to honor and respect the rights of all and demonstrate that no one is above the law by decisively combating impunity, lawlessness, and disorder,” the President said.

Dr Ruto was speaking to inspire confidence in businesses and investors, following the effects of the first day of the demonstrations last Monday, which saw businesses in some parts of the country including  Nairobi and Kisumu closed as Azimio followers and police engaged in hours of running battles.

The President accused the protesters of disrupting businesses and sabotaging economic activities in the country, even as he termed them “economic terrorists”.

“There is no reason whatsoever, for anyone to stand in the way of free enterprise, disrupt business, sabotage economic activities, or work as an economic terrorist for personal selfish interests. Such impunity must be dealt with firmly and full accountability enforced to vindicate Kenya’s commitment as a free market economy,” he said.

The President said the government has a duty to ensure that every worker and business enjoys a conducive environment unhindered.

He was speaking during an event to officiate the listing of Local Authorities Pension Trust’s (Laptrust) Income-Real Estate Investment Trust (I-REIT) at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) on Wednesday.

“I am looking forward to days in the very near future when we will be reporting every Monday and every Thursday to be days that were traded highest in the NSE,” Dr Ruto said, perhaps targeting the days announced by Mr Odinga as those he will lead public demonstrations beginning next week.