Raila Odinga Announces Peaceful Protests Against President Ruto’s Government in Kenya

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Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga has announced the start of peaceful mass action protests against President William Ruto’s government, kicking off with a major demonstration planned for 20 March, in Nairobi, the capital (Abuso, 2023). Odinga plans to lead the protests himself, which will involve company boycotts, strikes, and sit-ins in government offices (Abuso, 2023).

The protests come after the lapse of the 14-day ultimatum issued by Odinga to President Ruto to address the cost of living, open the 2022 presidential election servers, and stop the process of appointing new members of the electoral agency, IEBC (Abuso, 2023).

Odinga’s announcement was followed by hundreds of his supporters flooding the streets of Kisumu and Vihiga in Western Kenya on March 10, clashing with police while chanting anti-Ruto songs (Abuso, 2023). They carried placards that read “High cost of living,” “Ruto Must go,” and “victimization of the Cherera Four commissioners” (Abuso, 2023).

President Ruto is accusing Odinga of promoting impunity, with a clear agenda to destabilize his administration. He insists that nothing will make him lose focus, and he has always said Odinga is on a mission to force a political handshake. Odinga denies any attempts of pushing Ruto into a political dialogue (Abuso, 2023).

To end the current political stalemate, political analyst Brian Wanyama tells The Africa Report that the greatest responsibility lies with President Ruto, as the constitutionally recognized leader of the country, to reach out to Odinga for political talks. “Ruto should show statesmanship, swallow pride and talk to his opponent. Raila should also tone down,” he says (Abuso, 2023).

According to Article 37 of Kenya’s Constitution, every person has the right, peaceably and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket, and to present petitions to public authorities (Abuso, 2023).

Reference: Abuso, V. (2023, March 14). Kenya: Raila announces anti-Ruto protests, with major demo in Nairobi. The Africa Report. https://www.theafricareport.com/292123/kenya-raila-announces-anti-ruto-protests-with-major-demo-in-nairobi/

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