Raila Explains Why He Didn't Call for Mass Action During Uhuru's Reign

President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga at Bomas of Kenya
President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga at Bomas of Kenya on November 19 2019 during the launched of BBI report.

Azimio Chief Raila Odinga, on Friday, March 17, explained why he did not call for mass actions during former President Uhuru Kenyatta's term in office.

Speaking during an interview with Voice of Africa Swahili, Odinga noted that Uhuru attempted to cushion Kenyans from the high cost of living.

However, President William Ruto failed to deliver his promise to Kenyans despite being given ample time to uplift the economy.

"When they got into power, they promised to lower the cost of living and promised to deal with it within the first 90 days. They forgot the promise they made to the people," he stated.

Azimio Chief Raila Odinga during an interview with VOA Swahili on March 17, 2023.
VOA Swahili

Odinga reiterated that he gave Ruto 100 days, to address the situation and had tried to engage the president but was unsuccessful.

"He chose to be proud and looked down upon us and now the time to talk has lapsed. We do not like demonstrations but we are forced to," he maintained.

Raila insisted that he will continue to advocate for peace and even informed the police, in writing, of his demonstration plans, as directed by the President. 

However, the ODM party leader was hard-pressed to explain why he did not seek more legal redress. 

"We had the majority in both houses but our members of Parliament were bought. Ruto now uses his acquired majority lawlessly and that is why we decided to go back to the people who have no price tag," he remarked.

Raila reiterated that the mass demonstrations scheduled for March 20 would go as planned and invited Kenyans to turn up in large numbers.

Meanwhile, Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei promised to rally pro-government supporters to the Nairobi CBD to counter the Azimio demonstrations.

Cherargei claimed that President Ruto would not fold into his demands and called him to retire instead and peach peace as a senior citizen.

During Uhuru's regime, the government offered fuel and maize subsidies to keep the rising cost of living at bay. However, Ruto expunged the subsidies, claiming they only benefitted selected individuals and were a conduit for corruption. 

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga speaking at a rally in Kiambu County on March 17, 2023.
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga speaking at a rally in Kiambu County on March 17, 2023.
Raila Odinga

He argued that the lion's share of the subsidy funds ended up in the pockets of highly-placed officials in Uhuru's government. Recent revelations by Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang'o backed the claims and similar sentiments issued by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua. 

Nyakang'o told Parliament that former Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani allegedly coerced her to release Ksh15 billion for several state projects.

Gachagua had earlier claimed that government officials stole Ksh16 billion and ferried them to their homes via helicopters. 

While Yatani denounced the claims, he and other former top state officers were summoned by Members of Parliament (MPs) to shed more light on how the government bought Ksh6 billion worth of Telkom shares. 

  • .