Protests will go on every week, Raila declares

Raila Odinga

Raila Odinga (centre), the leader of the Kenyan opposition coalition “Azimio la Umoja”, speaks to supporters during a mass rally in Mathare slum in Nairobi on March 20, 2023.

Photo credit: Yasuyoshi Chiba | AFP

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party leader Raila Odinga yesterday declared weekly protests every Monday to pile pressure on President William Ruto to heed to their demands.

Addressing ecstatic crowds of supporters in Nairobi’s Eastlands amid a police onslaught, Mr Odinga accused President Ruto’s administration of trashing the Constitution by attacking “innocent protesters already battered by the high cost of living.”

Speaking at various stopovers in Eastleigh and Mathare where opposition supporters braved tear gas and water cannons, Mr Odinga said they will not tire until their demands that the government brings down the high cost of living, among other concerns, are addressed.

“We shall continue with our protests every Monday. It will not end today but will go on until Kenyans get their rights,” Mr Odinga said in Eastleigh. 

He also demanded that the recruitment of electoral commissioners be stopped to allow for a bi-partisan process and the opening of servers to audit the outcome of last August’s presidential election.

Accompanied by other Azimio luminaries — Martha Karua, Kalonzo Musyoka, Eugene Wamalwa, Jeremiah Kioni, Wycliffe Oparanya and Roots Party leader George Wajackoyah — among other leaders as he criss-crossed the city, Mr Odinga said yesterday’s demonstrations signalled major protests to come.

Yesterday, police blocked protesters from accessing the city centre, but were engaged in running battles with scores of youths for the better part of the day.

Mr Odinga, who had been holed up in a meeting at Serena Hotel with other coalition principals including Ms Karua, Mr Musyoka and his daughter Winnie Odinga, chose to head to Nairobi’s Eastlands after all roads leading to the city centre were barricaded by police.

The Azimio leaders, clad in brown combat gear, had planned to address journalists at the hotel at 2:30pm before heading to the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, but police blocked reporters from accessing the hotel.

Their attempts to address journalists outside the hotel were also futile after police lobbed tear gas canisters and sprayed them with water, forcing them to leave for Eastlands.

Ms Karua told President Ruto to brace himself for a tough encounter and urged Kenyans to remain resilient against regime intimidation. 

“Let us be ready to last as long as it takes to free Kenya from the shackles of an illegitimate regime,” she charged.

Ms Karua said President Ruto has no right to suspend “the right to peaceful procession and unleash a reign of terror on Kenyans.”

Mr Musyoka accused President Ruto of suspending the Constitution and opting to use dictatorship in dealing with Kenyans.

“They have attacked innocent protesters and arrested others together with our leaders. We are saying those leaders arrested and taken to [the Directorate of Criminal Investigations headquarters on] Kiambu Road must be released unconditionally,” the Wiper leader said. 

Mr Odinga vowed to continue with his push-back against the Ruto regime.

He demanded the reinstatement of former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission officials Justus Nyang’aya, Juliana Cherera, Irene Cherop and Francis Wanderi.


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