Opposition leader Raila Odinga yesterday gave the clearest hint yet on how his team plans to execute plans for the countrywide mass action should the government fail to heed their demands within the next 11 days.
Mr Odinga unveiled the Kakamega Chapter of the Movement for Defence of Democracy that he said will coordinate the involvement of Azimio supporters in street protests countrywide. The Kakamega team was clad in military-style fatigue, complete with red berets, a sign that Mr Odinga is preparing the ground for confrontation with the authorities.
The demands by the Azimio brigade include the opening of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) servers, bringing down the cost of living, restoring subsidies on fuel and essential commodities, restoring the people's voice, strengthening democracy, and ending what Mr Odinga called electoral deceit.
The launch of the Kakamega Chapter of the movement came three days after Mr Odinga made his demands known.
Today, the opposition chief heads for Kitale in Trans Nzoia.
The Kakamega group is led by Mr John Mukhwendo from Mumias, who told the crowd at Amalemba that President William Ruto “must go home” as the team cheered. “Kakamega youth will take part in the demonstrations in Nairobi. We will die with Baba (Mr Odinga). We will go to jail with Baba,” he said.
Mr Odinga asserted that their demands must be met, failing which they would resort to mass protests to restore order.
“The IEBC worked with Smartmatic Company from Venezuela to steal our victory. Our votes were added to Ruto's. They then wrote a letter declining to open the servers as directed by the Supreme Court,” said Mr Odinga.
“I want to answer Ruto. He claimed servers were opened. That is a lie, Mr Ruto. The servers were not opened and have not been opened. We challenge you to let the servers be opened. If you won, what are you fearing? Open the server.”
The push and pull over the IEBC servers between Dr Ruto and Mr Odinga is threatening to escalate after the two differed sharply on the matter.
Dr Ruto insists that IEBC servers were opened during the election and the Supreme Court hearing as Mr Odinga reads from a different script, amid escalation in their war of words over the credibility of the electoral process.
Mr Odinga maintained that the servers should be opened before the 14 days he gave elapse. He had this week issued a 14-day ultimatum on three key areas they want acted on, among them the opening of the servers.
Ruto clap back
But on Thursday, President Ruto hit back, claiming the servers have always been open. Dr Ruto said the call for the servers to be opened, six months after the election, is an insult to the country’s collective intelligence.
“For anyone to tell us that they need IEBC servers to be opened at this point in time is to take us for granted; is to believe that there are fools in Kenya. I want to tell our friends that the servers have always been open.”
But Mr Odinga said no such thing was done. He claims the opposition is in possession of the “real results”, which he says differ from those announced by IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati, and that the opening of the server will solve this.
Earlier in Luanda, Vihiga County, during the homecoming ceremony of Mr Dick Maungu, Mr Odinga said everyone is overburdened by the cost of living after prices of essential commodities and the cost of education skyrocketed.
Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua said the time had come for Kenyans to sacrifice and prepare to die for the country. “Siku ya kufa ni moja, tuache uoga (You die once; let’s not be cowards). Raila has said he is ready to pay the price. I am pained to see Kenyans suffering," she said.
Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, for his part, hit out at the government for the plan to triple university fees from the current Sh16,000, saying this would be inhumane if implemented.
Former Defence minister Eugene Wamalwa said Mr Odinga will blow the whistle if their demands are not met.
“We have 11 days remaining. It is Kenyans who own this country and the Constitution has given them the rights,” said Mr Wamalwa.
He also took a swipe at IEBC for failing to manage 14 million votes only unlike their counterparts in Nigeria whom he said easily conducted a recent election of 87 million voters.
Former Defence Minister Eugene Wamalwa said after the 14 days, Mr Odinga will blow the whistle if their demands are not met.
"We have 11 days remaining. It is Kenyans who own this country and the Constitution has given them the rights," said Mr Wamalwa.
Vihiga Senator Mr Godfrey Osotsi said he is in support of the war being staged by the opposition chief to reclaim the country and save the struggling citizens.
National Assembly Minority Leader Mr Opiyo Wandayi lashed out at the plan to hike university fees from Sh16,000 to Sh52,000 saying it must be dropped.
He said the last time university fees were increased was in 1990 and that two former presidents, Mwai Kibaki and Uhuru Kenyatta, never thought of increasing them again.
"We must rally behind Raila lest we lose our country. Since Kenya Kwanza took over, the cost of living has been going high," said Mr Wandayi.
Other leaders who attended the rally included Governors James Orengo (Siaya) and Fernandes Barasa (Kakamega), Senators Ledama Ole Kina (Narok) and Edwin Sifuna (Nairobi) and several MPs.