Raila Launches Nationwide Mass Action Against Ruto's Govt

Raila Odinga
Opposition leader Raila Odinga during the launching of multi-pronged strategies on Thursday, March 9, 2023.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga on Thursday, March 9, announced the start of mass action to force President Wiliam Ruto to comply with his demands. 

Raila made the the directive after the 14-day ultimatum Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition leader issued to the President lapsed. 

Among Raila's demands was Ruto to expedite the opening of the 2022 presidential election servers and address the high cost of living.

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"We now declare the beginning of mass action, and announce that Ruto must go," Raila Odinga.

While launching the Movement for Defence of Democracy (MDD), Raila claimed that President William Ruto failed to heed his call to lower the price of basic commodities, open the IEBC servers and engage the Azimio coalition in the recruitment process of IEBC commissioners. 

"Wherever we are across the country, we shall all find ourselves in Nairobi for a peaceful protest and civil disobedience," Raila noted. 

Donning combat regalia, the ODM chief told those interested in the mass action to prepare and take action against the Kenya Kwanza government. 

"On March 20, 2023, we have a date with destiny, and we call on you all to come to Nairobi where we will conduct a major procession," Raila declared. 

Raila outlined his reasons for calling for mass action against Ruto's government:

1. The high cost of living in Kenya

He claimed that President Ruto's government oversaw what he termed as blatant looting of public resources and wrong withdrawal of subsidies that cushion Kenyans from high prices. 

"To lower the cost of living and restore the destiny of our people Ruto must go," Raila declared. 

2. Double Taxation 

Raila noted that the Kenya Kwanza government was carrying out double taxation which was hurting many businesses including those that are owned by small-scale traders. 

3. Importation of GMO 

The former Prime Minister argued that President Ruto's decision to import Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) foods such as maize was to the detriment of Kenyan farmers and businesses. 

4. Recruitment of IEBC commissioners

During the event, Raila stated that the Ruto administration should have halted the ongoing process of reconstituting a new Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

"The IEBC Selection Panel is a puppet of Ruto, and we do not have any faith in whatever they are doing," Raila claimed. 

5. The victimization of Cherera Four Commissioners 

The ODM Party leader came to the defence of four former commissioners of the IEBC, who disowned the outcome of the August 2022 General Election. 

Dubbed the Cherera Four, vice-chairperson Juliana Cherera, Francis Mathenge, Irene Masit and Justus Nyang’aya, were forced to leave IEBC after President Ruto initiated their removal. While Cherera, Wanderi and Nyang’aya resigned, Masit was sacked after a tribunal made binding recommendations to the President.

6. Supreme Court Ruling 

Raila claimed that Supreme Court Judges treated Azimio with contempt during the Presidential Election petition challenging Ruto's win. 

He noted that the language used by Supreme Court Judges was appalling even to National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC). 

"The Supreme Court Judges confirmed Ruto's complete judicial capture, and for this reason, Ruto must go," Raila declared. 

Azimio co-principals claimed that the Kenya Kwanza government can no longer be tolerated. 

"This illegitimate regime must go," declared Martha Karua who was Raila's running mate.

Karua added that the prices for all basic commodities must be lowered as earlier demanded by the opposition. 

ODM Leader Raila Odinga (in white cap) in the confrontation that ensued when he dropped by the DCI headquarters on March 7, 2023.
ODM Leader Raila Odinga (in white cap) in the confrontation that ensued when he dropped by the DCI headquarters on March 7, 2023.
Seth Olale