Azimio leaders to give direction on high cost of living next week

Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga shakes hands with Siaya Governor James Orengo during the burial of former Migori ODM chairman Philip Makabong'o. [Caleb Kingwara, Standard]

ODM leader Raila Odinga has said the opposition will give Kenyans direction on the next cause of action over the high cost of living next week.

Raila, who renewed criticisms against President William Ruto's regime, claimed Kenyans are overburdened and called for unity to push the government to address the problems.

This happened as the ODM leader accused Ruto's regime of embarking on a mission to claw back on the gains made by the Constitution through amendments in the National Assembly.

The opposition chief believes Kenya Kwanza has compromised MPs to pass laws aimed at dragging the country back to the era of dictatorship.

Speaking during the burial of ODM Migori chairman Philip Makabong'o, Raila waded into several issues affecting Kenyans.

He termed Ruto's onslaught on the Judiciary unacceptable.

It remains to be seen whether the statement they will issue next week will include calls for mass action.

Last year, similar protests led to the loss of lives, arrests, and injuries as the government cracked down on protests by opposition supporters.

"We are going to release a comprehensive statement on the financial outlook in this country and the proposed measures by the government and what we will take ourselves as a people. We will release a statement to show the direction we will take," said Raila.

Raila criticised Ruto for his persistent attacks on the Judiciary and said they would also do everything to protect the Judiciary.

He claimed they would hold a one million match in support of the Judiciary and would not allow the president to disregard the Constitution.

He said they would not allow the president to continue disrespecting the courts and would do everything to protect the Judiciary.

Raila alleged a plot by Kenya Kwanza to slide the country back to the past using Parliament.

He claimed that MPs have been passing laws without questions.

"We are dealing with a regime that has gone rogue. It took us a long time to come up with this Constitution. We lost a lot of people in the process and eventually devolution came. But it is the same people that are fighting and undermining devolution," said Raila.

He accused the leadership of the National Assembly of being used to hurt devolution and other gains.

His comments come at a time the National Assembly has come under criticism for endorsing Bills that have made life tough for Kenyans.

Leaders who accompanied Raila also criticised Ruto's regime, saying it has failed Kenyans.

Governors, James Orengo (Siaya), Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay), Ochillo Ayacko (Migori), and Simba Arati (Kisii) claimed that Kenyans are struggling and the government has not provided solutions.

"President Ruto is not above the law. He cannot disobey the law," said Orengo.

He said the ills they have witnessed in Kenya Kwanza's administration justifies any cause of action the opposition will recommend. "There is justification for us to do what Raila tells us," said Orengo.

ODM deputy party leader Wycliffe Oparanya, said the Kenya Kwanza regime has failed Kenyans.

"Schools have opened this week and there are no bursaries yet someone is sending police to finish our people," said Oparanya.

He claimed the Western region is steadfast behind Raila's leadership.

"Western is ODM and we will continue being there," he said.

ODM Chairman John Mbadi described Ruto as a dictator.

"The Ruto we see today is the real Ruto. The one we saw in September was not the real one. The one who is dictating and disobeying state organs is the real Ruto," said Mbadi.

The leaders vowed to continue with the quest to strengthen ODM.