Raila is betraying me, Ruto says, dares Azimio to resume protests

Ruto in Malava

President William Ruto addresses a crowd during the launch of the upgrading of Malava-Kimang’eti road at Malava trading centre in Kakamega County on April 29.

Photo credit: Isaac Wale | Nation Media Group

President William Ruto yesterday dared opposition leader Raila Odinga not to engage in demonstrations in the country saying he will now invoke his powers as the commander-in-chief to firmly deal with protests and protect lives and property.

Dr Ruto said he had shown his goodwill when he reached out to the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya leader, but the opposition chief had now betrayed him by choosing to return to the streets.

“I talked to Raila and agreed with him that we take the issues to Parliament. They have now refused and want to go back to the streets. I want to tell them I am commander-in-chief. No property will be destroyed and the government will remain stable. They (opposition) must stop this (demonstrations). They had the handshake government and we never demonstrated against them,” said Dr Ruto in Malava, Kakamega.

At the same time, the Head of State said the government had walked back on the plan to privatise State-owned firms, saying the decision was causing anxiety across the country.

The President said State-run sugar millers in the country have an accumulated debt of Sh60 billion, adding that the government will write them off.

The Head of State said he will not be forced into “some kind of arrangements” in reference to the handshake form of government that ex-President Uhuru Kenyatta had with Mr Odinga from 2018 to 2022.

Yesterday, while in Kakamega County, Dr Ruto said that on Tuesday - the day set for the return of demonstrations by Azimio – he will defend every citizen and their businesses.

Dr Ruto said the Azimio team is not interested in talks but destruction of the economy “and I will not allow them”.

“There will be no demonstrations to cause chaos, destroy property and disrupt learning. If anyone has issues, he or she should follow the law. If you have issues with the servers, go to court and stop disturbing people,” said Dr Ruto.

The Deputy President said the elections ended on August 9 when people voted for six elective slots, adding that it is now time for development and not demonstrations.

The President launched the upgrading to bitumen standard of the Sh542 million, 13-km Malava - Kimang’eti -Ikoli Road in Malava in Kakamega, which is currently 50.6 per cent complete, covering a stretch of 6.5km.

The President also inspected the construction of the 61.35km Rivatex – Simat – Lemook – Kipkaren Selia – Kapkatembo – Kipkaren and Kaplemur – Kabiet and St. Theresa – Centre Kwanza roads, constructed at a cost of Shh3.52 billion.

The road also serves as an alternative link to Uganda Road from Eldoret town and the Eldoret International Airport, thus enhancing regional connectivity.

The road, which traverses Uasin Gishu and Nandi counties, comprises of three link roads, one each with a junction to Lemook, Kabiemit and St Theresa.

On the tarmacking of the 13km Malava-Kimang’eti-Ikoli Road, Dr Ruto said he has told the contractor and Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA) to ensure that the job is done by December for commissioning.

“The contractor has the marching orders. In December, as we commission a complete road, we will extend it to Navakhokolo for another 19km. We will also start to construct the other stalled roads,” he said.

Reporting by Derick Luvega, Shaban Makokha, Stanley Kimuge and Barnabas Bii