Raila begins Azimio’s 30 days of anti-William Ruto protests

Raila Odinga at Fagilia

Azimio leader Raila Odinga at Fagilia Grounds in Utawala, Nairobi, on Sunday. He called on Kenyans to come out in large numbers for the December 7 rally at Kamukunji Grounds.

Photo credit: Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition leader Raila Odinga will today spell out his anti-government programmes as he launches a resistance against President William Ruto’s administration that is expected to run for 30 days, before a final declaration.

The Nation has established that already, the coalition’s top decision-making organ — The Council, chaired by former President Uhuru Kenyatta — has sanctioned the meetings.

The Azimio brigade will today converge on Kamukunji grounds in Kibra for the launch of the anti-Ruto meetings, which will lead to a parallel Jamhuri Day celebration at Jacaranda grounds in Nairobi on December 12.

As President Ruto’s first 100 days in office come to an end on December 22, the opposition is expected to heighten its activities and rally the public to seek answers from the government over its failure to implement its promises. 

Mr Odinga’s camp has lined up a series of activities for the next 30 days through the public consultative forums that insiders in his camp say will be executed through a multi-pronged approach — parliamentary initiatives, judicial actions, as well as through the court of public opinion. Through Article 37 of the Constitution on assembly, demonstration, picketing and petition and under Article 1 of the Constitution, which gives sovereign power to the people of Kenya, Mr Odinga will begin his consultative forums on numerous issues.

They include high cost of living, forcible ejection of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) commissioners, arbitrary sacking of civil servants, unfulfilled campaign promises, lack of ethnic balance in appointments and disregard of Chapter Six of the Constitution in appointments, as well as unpopular policies like the importation of genetically modified maize.

“The consultations are also about the IEBC, which is being cannibalised, the consequences of which shall be grim. We will, therefore, be gathering to discuss the general state of affairs of our nation and the direction the regime is taking,” Mr Odinga said.

Even though Mr Odinga maintained that the meetings are not a call to public protest, the Nation understands that the coalition will give its verdict to Kenyans where it will spell out its irreducible minimums to the government.

“Failure by the government to act on them will leave us with no option but to call on our people to exercise their sovereign powers directly,” a source familiar with Mr Odinga’s endgame told the Nation.

The 30-day consultative marathon, he noted, will see the coalition leaders crisscross the country, visiting major towns and its bases of Mombasa, Nakuru, Kisumu and Kakamega, among other regions.

Mr Kenyatta has reportedly given the plans a fresh impetus and is said to have advised his Jubilee party leadership and reached out to Kanu Chairman Gideon Moi to take part in the Azimio plans as the collective responsibility of the coalition.

Jubilee Secretary-General Jeremiah Kioni and Kanu Secretary-General Nick Salat had earlier stated that whereas their parties still belong in Azimio, they would not take part in the rallies.

Mr Salat had said the party feels left out on key issues in the alliance.

The question of Mr Odinga’s daughter Winnie Odinga and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka’s son Kennedy Kalonzo, to be fronted by the coalition for seats to the East African Legislative Assembly, seems to be the bone of contention in Azimio that has unsettled Jubilee and Kanu.  

However, on Monday, during Mr Odinga’s briefing at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation, Mr Kioni and Jubilee Vice-Chairman David Murathe were present, with sources confiding in Nation that they had been whipped by party leader, Mr Kenyatta to be part of the process.

“Azimio One Kenya coalition is more united than ever,” Mr Moi’s party, Kanu, also tweeted on Monday as a sign of collective responsibility in the coalition.

But yesterday, the Kenya Union Party (KUP), a constituent party of Azimio led by former West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo, distanced itself from the planned rallies hours after its leader met with President William Ruto at State House, Nairobi.

According to the KUP boss, the planned demonstrations were not discussed and approved by Azimio’s constituent parties.

The ODM Nairobi chairman, Makadara MP George Aladwa, said the city rallies will go on as planned. Mr Odinga is expected to declare war against some recently appointed officials in the Ruto administration, whom he claims have not fulfilled Chapter Six of the Constitution.

“We are also concerned about the very brazen attack on Chapter Six of our Constitution. Brazen because the accused are being appointed to critical public offices that have immense bearing on whether we grow or stagnate as a country.”

He accused the President of slowly imposing a mafia state on Kenya. “This reign by gangsters is scary and unnerving. It has never been seen in Kenya even during our past bad days.”

Vihiga Senator Godfrey Osotsi said the rallies will enable Kenyans to have the best approach to deal with the Kenya Kwanza government, which he noted was hell-bent on capturing various institutions.

Additional reporting by Oscar Kakai