Raila Odinga: Let's meet in Nairobi on March 20 for the mother of all protests

Raila Odinga addressing journalists at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation in Nairobi on March 9, 2023. [Denis Kibuchi, Standard]

Raila Odinga has formally announced nationwide mass action.

Odinga declared the start of countrywide mass action on Thursday March 9, 2023 as part of putting pressure on President William Ruto to yield to their demands on the cost of living, IEBC selection panel, among other reasons.

According to Odinga, the demonstrations will culminate in a major protest in the capital city, Nairobi, on March 20, 2023, saying his supporters "have a date with destiny" on that day.

15 reasons

The Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya leader read out 15 reasons for the push to declare President Ruto's administration "illegitimate" when he addressed journalists at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation in Upper Hill, Nairobi.

Odinga accused Ruto of "overseeing the looting of public resources", which, he said, has resulted in the skyrocketing cost of living.

At the same time, Odinga accused President Ruto of introducing policies that have led to the "over-taxation of Kenyans".

Odinga also took issue with the Cabinet's decision to lift the ban on the importation of GMOs, saying the move will "destroy Kenya's food basket".

He also took issue with the IEBC commissioners' selection criteria, saying the selection panel that has been set up will "produce seven Chebukatis" and further claimed of a plot to "rig" the 2027 presidential election in favour of Ruto.

Cherera four

Odinga said former commissioners Juliana Cherera, Justus Nyang'aya, Francis Wanderi and Irene Masit had been "victimised" by President Ruto over their stand in the August 9, 2022 presidential election.

The ODM chief said the Supreme Court of Kenya, which dismissed Azimio's 2022 presidential petition, treated them with contempt, and that the Judiciary was in an "alliance with Ruto".

Odinga said Ruto has managed to capture the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary arms of government, thus making him a dictatorial leader.

The Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya leader also took issue with the appointment of personnel to the Public Service Commission (PSC) and other senior positions in government, saying only two tribes have prominently featured in the line-up.

Odinga said Ruto reneged on his promise to manage the public wage bill after embracing the adoption of more offices in his government, including the yet-to-be-filled Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) positions.

The ex-premier also said that President Ruto has sidelined members of other faiths, including Hindu and Islam, and concentrated heavily on Christians only.

Civil service

Odinga said the president has "tribalised" the civil service, and that members of certain ethnic communities were being targeted over their perceived political inclination.

The Azimio boss also said that the deaths of ICC witnesses, including Meshack Yebei, has to be revisited, linking some prominent people in the current government to the killings.

Odinga accused some members of the current administration of grabbing public land, including in Ruai, Lang'ata, Eldoret and Trans Nzoia.

The ODM boss further said that Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua is not fit to hold public office over integrity concerns.

"We do not have patience with the illegitimate regime. We cannot keep living on false promises," he said.