'Enough is enough!' President Ruto warns Raila over mass action plans

President William Ruto speaks during a consultative meeting with members of Constitutional Commissions and Independent Offices at State House, Nairobi on January 17, 2023. PHOTO| PCS

President William Ruto has warned opposition leader Raila Odinga against holding unlawful protests that will result in the destruction of lives and property or the paralyzation of business operations in the country.

In a response to the recent threats by Odinga and other opposition leaders to lead countrywide demonstrations next week, the President said Kenya is a country governed by the rule of law and no one was above the law.

The Head of State insisted that he will not allow any attempt by Odinga to "blackmail" the country, urging him to liaise with police over the planned demonstrations..

"We must tell my good friend Raila Odinga. You cannot. Enough is enough. You cannot continue to blackmail the country. We have no problem with you organising demonstrations but please it is your responsibility to work with the police to make sure that the rest of the citizens of Kenya... their lives are not disrupted, their property is not destroyed and businesses are not affected. They can go to work and you can carry on with your demonstrations

The President was speaking at State House, Nairobi, on Wednesday, when he met leaders from Trans Nzoia County.  He said Kenyans have the right to protest but must do so peacefully and within the law.

“Odinga has been holding bloody and chaotic demonstrations for the last 50 years; he needs to assure Kenyans that this will be different. This is why we’ve told Raila Odinga to sit down with police and explain to them how the demonstrations will be peaceful,” said President Ruto.

"Tunamwambia bwana Raila please, tupatie kaheshima kidogo. Hata sisi ni wakenya. Wewe sio Mkenya peke yako."

Also present at the meeting were Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi, National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula, Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakumicha and Trans Nzoia Governor George Natembeya.

Others were MPs Lilian Siyoi (Women Rep), Patrick Barasa (Cherangani), Allan Chesang (Trans Nzoia), Ferdinand Wanyonyi (Kwanza) and former MPs Joash Wamangoli and Noah Wekesa among others

President Ruto told the opposition that the country would not submit to his threats and blackmail.

“I want to tell my elder brother Raila Odinga that we can’t have two sets of laws,” said Dr Ruto.

Mr Gachagua commended the leaders for their resolve to work with the government for the sake of development.

“I am happy that you are not part of those planning demonstrations. Why didn’t Raila Odinga demonstrate when the cost of fertilizer was Sh 7,000 and unga prices at Sh 250?’ Mr Gachagua asked.

Mr Mudavadi told off Mr Odinga for giving fictitious declarations that have no legal basis.

“We are in a country that is anchored by the rule of law. It’s wrong for anyone to declare a public holiday in disregard to the rule of law,” said Mr Mudavadi. 

Mr Wetangula said belligerent politics was totally unhelpful in developing countries, saying plans by the Opposition leaders to hold demonstrations were uncalled for.

“Destructive violent activism is absolutely unhelpful. Legitimacy of President Ruto is unquestionable,” said Mr Wetangula.

Additional reporting by PCS

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