President Ruto slams ‘deadly’ Azimio protests
President William Ruto has spoken out against the loss of lives and the destruction of property during the third round of Azimio protests held on Thursday.
He said while the Constitution allows Kenyans to hold divergent opinions and competing ideas, that right should not disrupt businesses and school calendars.
“The Constitution does not envisage that different opinions would result in chaos and loss of property or life. We must be able to celebrate all the rights provided for in our constitution in a manner that respects the rights of others and also does not destroy property or makes our children not go to school. We are mature enough to be able to do that,” said President Ruto.
A number of Kenyans, including at least one police officer, have died in the protests, while several shops have been looted.
He made the statement during the launch of the Public Service Commission’s (PSC) 2021-2022 Values and Principles Compliance report.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua said some of the demands by the Azimio team to President Ruto would have him violate the Constitution which “he swore to protect”.
He also maintained that there was no constitutional provision for a ‘handshake’ agreement.
The four Azimio demands are the reduction of the high cost of living, the opening of last year’s presidential election servers for audit, stopping the unilateral reconstitution of the electoral commission and reinstatement of four electoral commissioners otherwise known as Cherera four.
The four former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) officials are Justus Nyang’aya, Juliana Cherera, Irene Cherop and Francis Wanderi.
But Mr Gachagua said: “The President cannot reinstate IEBC commissioners. He does not have that power or authority. The President would not even know where the server is stored because it is not his work. This server is being looked for in Mukuru Kwa Njenga and Koinange street. I do not know where they are looking for it. We are also interested in knowing where it is. So if you have information as to where it is, you tell us so that we can tell the people who are perpetrating post-election violence where it is so that they can stop ruining the businesses of other people.”
The DP criticised the ongoing Azimio protests, branding them post-election violence.
“The Supreme Court approved the election and these people have brought violence. Let our officers protect life and property and let everybody go about their businesses without hindrance or intimidation because this is our country,” he said.
President Ruto also responded to the High Court ruling that temporarily barred 50 CASs he appointed after committing to uphold the rule of law.
“After consultations, I told the chair of the PSC that all I need is honest advice and that what we must do is go by the rule of law. We had to redo the whole architecture because it was the advice of a professional public service,” said President Ruto.
Bending the rules
The President urged public servants to be honest with their seniors and tell them the truth when something is not possible, instead of bending the rules.
He also advised public servants who are approaching the retirement age of 60 to not ask for extra days but to give way for younger people to take over.
“As a politician, I am confident that I have trained enough young leaders who can do better than I have done,” he said.
During the event, 3,902 Kenyans joined PSC’s internship programme. Some 31,000 applicants from across the country had applied.
President Ruto announced that the next intake will take in 20,000 youth and urged the private sector to partner with the government to create more opportunities for graduates.
The Friday event also marked the first graduation of PSC’s Emerging Leadership fellowship programme with 51 civil servants.