Trust us, we’ll stop these Azimio protests, Gachagua tells Kenyans

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua (purple tie brown coat), Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi (second right) and a host of political and religious leaders at Silungai Primary School grounds during an interdenominational service on April 1, 2023.

Photo credit: Isaac Wale | Nation Media Group

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua yesterday said the government would be “ruthless” with the Raila Odinga-led anti-government protests, even as appeared pleased with what he said was the abandonment of the opposition leader by Western nations.

Mr Gachagua, who insists Mr Odinga should stop the protests and retire from politics, also went after former President Uhuru Kenyatta, whom he said had sent emissaries for talks with the government.

The DP said Mr Kenyatta wants to get favours from the government but added that the emissaries were sent back to tell the ex-president to settle taxes demanded from his family.

Mr Gachagua said the protests have morphed into post-election violence.

“The government will assert its authority and protect lives and property on Monday,” Mr Gachagua said during an interdenominational service at Silungai Primary School in Malava, Kakamega County.

 “It is not going to be business as usual and the protests should not be allowed to continue. The government will look at the penal code. The consequences are heavy.”

The DP accused protesters of stealing and destroying property. 

“Theft and robbery with violence are felonies whose punishments are heavy,” he said.

Mr Gachagua added that the government has cautioned “those boys who have been taking advantage of what is going on to destroy property and loot”, adding that Monday “will be the last day for Azimio to do this”.

Uhuru factor

He repeated the claim that the former president is funding the protests – an allegation Mr Odinga has called false and malicious – with interest on seeking leave from settling taxes.

The DP said Mr Kenyatta does not want to be held to account “for the ills committed during the Handshake administration”, referring to the political deal reached between the then-president and Mr Odinga on March 9, 2018.

“My brother Uhuru Kenyatta, I have sent your emissaries back but you don’t have to cause violence. The same violence will also consume you,” he said.

At the fundraiser were Prime CS Musalia Mudavadi,National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula, Governors Fernandes Barasa (Kakamega) Mutahi Kahiga (Nyeri) Jonathan Bii (Uasin Gishu) Kenneth Lusaka (Bungoma) and several lawmakers.

Mr Gachagua said opposition Azimio la Umoja One Kenya alliance leaders want was to get into the government by hiding behind the cost of living crisis. 

“That is not negotiable. There will be no handshake. President William Ruto and I held the Bible with the entire world watching and swore to uphold the Constitution,” the DP said, adding that the only negotiations would be on Mr Odinga’s retirement from politics.

International community

Welcoming the decision by the international community over the protests, Mr Gachagua criticised Mr Odinga for accusing envoys of turning a blind to what is happening in Kenya.

The DP said the opposition leader is out of order in criticising the diplomats.

He added that the international community has abandoned Mr Odinga.

“Now he is crying. The world knew he was a democrat but not anymore. They are investing a lot of money for development in Kenya. Now that he is exposed, let the international community leave him to us to do the remaining bit,” he said.

Mr Odinga on Friday accused US ambassador to Kenya, Meg Whitman, of turning a blind eye to “electoral injustice”.

He added that the diplomat has taken sides and is interfering with Kenya’s democratic process.
According to Mr Gachagua, media houses are pro-Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition. 

He said the media are exaggerating the assaults on journalists by police officers and playing the victim.

Mr Mudavadi also castigated the media “for showing violent scenes the whole day during the protests”, adding that journalists “have become pundits of anarchy”.

He said the government is committed to upholding media freedom “but the players in the sector should act responsibly”.

Mr Wetang’ula said the protests are derailing development. He added that Mr Odinga was allowed access to the electoral commission servers by the Supreme Court and agreed to abide by the verdict that upheld Dr Ruto’s victory.

“What you (Mr Odinga) are doing is a reverse. Let us focus on development and leave the ambassadors alone,” the National Assembly Speaker said.