Ruto, Raila allies clash over planned protests 

 Francis Wangusi’s widows Agnes Sitati Wamukota and Elizabeth Wamukota

Former Communications Authority of Kenya Director-General Francis Wangusi’s widows Agnes Sitati Wamukota and Elizabeth Wamukota during his requiem service at Friends Church along Ngong Road on March 15, 2023.

Photo credit: Wilfred Nyangaresi | Nation Media Group

President William Ruto’s and Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition leader Raila Odinga’s allies yesterday clashed at the requiem service for former Communications Authority Director-General Francis Wangusi in Nairobi over the planned mass protests on Monday next week.

The funeral service that took place at the Friends Church on Ngong road was attended by former Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, MPs Didmus Barasa (Kimilili), John Makali (Kanduyi), John Waluke (Sirisia) and Tim Wanyonyi (Westlands).

Mr Wamalwa had urged the congregation to turn up for the demonstrations next week, adding that Kenyans have a right to peaceful protests.

“March 20th is a very important day in the history of our country. We are peaceful Kenyans. We have held 15 meetings and they have all been peaceful on Monday we come to Nairobi in peace. We want anyone who will come out to protest to know it’s their constitutional right but to do so in peace,” the DAP-K party leader said.

He went on: “We are not mad people to hold these demonstrations. It will not only happen in Kenya, South Africans are also going to march on Monday. The protests will also be conducted in Tunisia and Nigeria.”

But Mr Barasa told him off, saying that until they put their families on the frontline during the protests, Kenyans should not join them.

“We will not demonstrate until we see their families on the line demonstrating. Before they join them we will not join them,” Mr Barasa said.

He added: “If they love Kenya and the children of this republic if they want this country to prosper, let them tell us how they put their efforts to improve this country when they were holding government positions. We will not follow them because they are now out of government and they are telling us we have to demonstrate.”

Mr Barasa accused Mr Wamalwa of squandering his opportunity while in government to lower the cost of living.

“When I see my very close friend Eugene Wamalwa, the immediate former Minister for Defence supporting mass action when most of them, including himself, had an opportunity to sort out the problems we have in this country you wonder whether they metamorphosed overnight and became different people or they are the same persons,” the MP said.

Government stable

Mr Makali said that the government was not under any threat from the opposition over the planned protests.

“Kenya is a democracy and Eugene Wamalwa can say whatever he wants to say but we are not under any threat. We are on course,” the MP said.

Mr Wamalwa also accused President Ruto of seeking to return the country to a one-party state.

“The journey to a single-party state has begun. We had section 2A under (former President Daniel) Moi and with what Ruto is pushing we are seeing a possibility of that section returning, where only one party called UDA will be in Kenya,” the former CS charged.

The leaders eulogised the late Wangusi as a “courageous person and unifier who worked towards the unity of the community”.