What you need to know:
- Mr Odinga, leader of the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition, called upon President William Ruto to prepare for a battle never witnessed in the country.
- He issued the statement on the backdrop of the stalled bipartisan talks that were meant to resolve some of the issues the coalition has raised.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga has castigated the government over what he describes as “personalising” issues of national interest that are affecting millions of Kenyans.
Mr Odinga, leader of the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition, called upon President William Ruto to prepare for a battle never witnessed in the country, noting "this is not about me".
He issued a statement on Saturday, highlighting the key changes the coalition has been pushing for, such as the reconstitution of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), which he noted will safeguard the country's democratic space.
Citing the recent expulsion of four IEBC dissenting commissioners, Mr Odinga said free and fair elections can only be assured by the transparent recruitment of commissioners.
“A situation where all IEBC commissioners, and, by extension, members of any board, are required to agree with whatever the chairman says or does is a serious danger to future elections and anyone can be a victim. In leading the calls for a transparent and inclusive reform of the IEBC, I am acting for posterity, in the best interest of the nation,” he said.
Mr Odinga also talked about recent government appointments that he said are skewed towards a few tribes while many others in the country are marginalised. This, he noted, is discriminatory.
Concerning the three percent housing fund levy proposed in the Finance Bill, 2023, Mr Odinga said the deduction will further shrink the pay of several Kenyans who are already dealing with the rising cost of living.
The Azimio team also said President William Ruto's Kenya Kwanza administration is turning the country into a one-party state by continuously taking away MPs from the Azimio coalition.
The former prime minister also differed with the government on the tax hike on beauty products, reiterating that the beauty industry is s source of employment for many Kenyans.
“I do not need beauty products, neither do my co-principals. But I recognise the beauty industry as a source of employment for millions of our people, particularly the youth, hence my opposition to the 316 per cent tax hike on these products,” he said.
Mr Odinga issued the statement on the backdrop of the stalled bipartisan talks that were meant to resolve some of the issues the coalition has raised.
The Azimio team had given their Kenya Kwanza up to Tuesday to come up with proposals on how to revive the talks.
The team is expected to issue a statement on whether their Kenya Kwanza counterparts have made a commitment to proceed with the talks.