Raila Odinga to State: Stop killing our children

Azimio leader Raila Odinga during a press briefing at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation offices in Nairobi

ODM party leader Raila Odinga.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has told President William Ruto’s administration to cease ‘murders, arrests and detention’ of youth who are opposed to the Finance Bill, 2024.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mr Odinga said the escalation of the protests that have since turned bloody – with several protesters being shot dead by the police – was because of the arrogance and obstinacy by government officials.

He said President William Ruto’s administration has refused to listen to the cries of Kenyans on high taxation and instead is pushing through additional taxes amid high cost of living.

This even as he called on the East African Community, the African Union and the United Nations to immediately seize the unfolding bloody protests in Kenya to save lives.


An anti-Finance Bill protesters displays a placard in Voi town, Taita Taveta County on June 25, 2024.

Photo credit: Lucy Mkanyika | Nation Media Group

“Matters that should have been resolved through dialogue and humility have degenerated into developments that have never been witnessed in the 61-year history of our country since independence,” said Mr Odinga.

“I am deeply troubled by the violent and deadly crackdown on young, peaceful protesters exercising their right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. I am disturbed at the murders, arrests, detentions and surveillance being perpetrated by police on boys and girls who are only seeking to be heard over taxation policies that are stealing both their present and future,” he said.

The former Prime Minister said he had expected the government to show ‘goodwill and humility and at least listen to the country’s children.’

Instead, he said, every dissenting opinion has been dismissed and ridiculed by government officials and ruling party politicians. Mr Odinga said the dissenting voices are now being ‘silenced by brutality and murder.’

He said the police handled the protesters as if the constitution, which guarantees freedom to peacefully protest, had been suspended.

“The government has unleashed brute force on our country’s children and more seems to be on the way. We cannot allow that. We can’t and won’t tolerate any extra minute of this murder spree and violence that could have been and can still be avoided,” said Mr Odinga.