Raila says protests still on, condemns ‘state’ violence
What you need to know:
- Mr Odinga today met with members of the Nubian community at Kwa DC CDF office in Kibra.
- He will also visit the Kenyatta family-owned Northlands farm on the Eastern Bypass.
Azimio la Umoja One Kenya leader Raila Odinga yesterday vowed to continue with the protests against President William Ruto’s administration despite what he termed state-sponsored violence against protesters and invasion of private property by state agents.
Mr Odinga, who is expected to lead his third anti-government demonstration tomorrow, accused President Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua of sponsoring the invasion of “people’s lands and businesses”, but he did not provide evidence of his claims.
Mr Odinga was alluding to the Monday incidences in which people stormed the Northlands farm belonging to former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s family and his own family-linked gas cylinder-maker Spectre East Africa Limited in Nairobi.
Kanu Secretary-General George Wainaina said police must take action against the perpetrators of the invasion, noting that the move was preceded by “incitement remarks by a section of politicians against Mr Kenyatta”.
“It is in the public domain that the actual vendetta the said politicians are harbouring against HE Uhuru Kenyatta is his extended family’s land ownership in the country,” Mr Wainaina said.
Mr Odinga asserted that no amount of intimidation and attack on innocent Kenyans will stop their resolve to push for the reduction of the high cost of living, among other concerns.
“Ruto must make no mistake. This struggle will march on, stronger and mightier with his every vile response until our demands are met,” Mr Odinga declared.
He was addressing journalists at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation in Nairobi where he was accompanied by other coalition principals Martha Karua, Kalonzo Musyoka, Eugene Wamalwa, Wycliffe Oparanya and Roots party leader George Wajackoyah, among other leaders.
Ms Karua accused Mr Gachagua, National Assembly Majority leader Kimani Ichung’wa among other leaders who issued threats about the attacks on the Kenyatta and Odinga property of colluding with the police to ensure a successful invasion of the premises.
“We say so because the police never showed up the entire day this was happening. Miraculously they showed up today (yesterday) 24 hours later and after the damage,” said Ms Karua.
The acts, she said, were reminiscent of the former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s land invasions.
“A legitimate, self-respecting government cannot use thugs to settle political disputes or to stop the exercise of the constitutional right to demonstrate,” said the Narc Kenya leader.
Mr Odinga said it was distasteful for the state to hire goons and mercenaries to terrorise peaceful and innocent Kenyans.
“Despite Azimio supporters bending over to ensure that the protests are conducted strictly within the law, the state, under the direction of Ruto and Gachagua, did everything to ensure the protests degenerate into chaos and lead to death.
“The state unleashed goons on farms way off Nairobi and businesses way off the CBD. In that invasion, trees were uprooted and burnt and animals carted away and slaughtered under the supervision of the state,” Mr Odinga claimed.
He went on: “In this latest act of desperation by Ruto and Gachagua, we see a plot that will be extremely disastrous for the country’s long-term stability and economy. We see little hope for Kenya’s large-scale farming. We are tearing the heart out of our commercial agriculture. We see little hope for new investments in our economy or the expansion of existing ones. We are looking at the beginning of the end of the economy of this country.”
He claimed that the country was being run by “people suffering acute split personality disorders”, insisting that they will not tire until their irreducible minimum demands—lowering the high cost of living, opening last year’s presidential election servers for audit and ensuring that the reconstitution of the electoral agency is above board, consultative and bipartisan— are met.
“How does Ruto go to Germany and talk about attracting German foreign investments to Kenya knowing very well that back at home he has put in place a machinery for vicious attack on local investments?” Mr Odinga asked.
The ODM leader also delved into the violence that broke out in Kibra on Monday night, leading to the torching of a local PCEA church and a mosque. He claimed that the torching of the church was a ploy to incite violence between communities living in Kibra.
Yesterday, Mr Odinga visited Kibra and held meetings with local leaders and communities with a view to finding a truce between the warring factions.