Azimio to resume anti-government demos next week

Raila Odinga (center) declared that they will resume protests over the government’s failure to take the bi-partisan talks seriously. [Samson Wire, Standard]

Azimio has announced that anti-government demonstrations will resume next week after a one-month break.

ODM deputy party leader Wycliffe Oparanya said that the demonstrations will begin on May 2.

Last week, Azimio leader Raila Odinga declared that they will resume protests after what he said was the government’s failure to take the bi-partisan talks seriously.

Following consultative meetings with other Azimio leaders, they resolve to have the talks and demos running concurrently. “Nothing stops dialogue out of Parliament, the dialogue shall continue as we continue with the demonstrations,” said Raila.

In response to a statement by the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops calling on the government to intervene and lower the cost of basic commodities in the country, Azimio has expressed readiness to partner with them in pursuing this matter for the sake of Kenyans who are suffering.

In a six-page statement, the Catholic Bishops also express their disapproval of “destructive demonstrations” and advocated for dialogue, which they say is “the only civil way” to resolve Kenya’s socio-political challenges.

However, the opposition has disagreed with the church’s decision to declare the protests violent, unconstitutional and uncalled for.

“As we have stated in recent occasions, our protests have been and will continue to be peaceful unless the state unleashes police and goons on protesters,” read the statement by Azimio.

The opposition is now appealing to the church to partner with Kenyans in calling on the State to respect section 37 of the Constitution, which grants every person the right to peaceful assembly and picketing.

Bipartisan talks kicked off last week with Azimo and Kenya Kwanza leaders agreeing on the venue of the inaugural meeting. While there has been progress, differences still exist over the composition of the ad hoc committee. Kenya Kwanza is opposed to the inclusion of Pokot South MP David P’Kosing (KUP) as a member of Azimio team on grounds that his party leader John Lonyangapuo has entered into an arrangement with the ruling coalition.

On the other hand Azimio has opposed the inclusion of Eldas MP Adan Keynan in the Kenya Kwanza team saying that Jubilee is affiliated to Azimio.

National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah said removal of any name from the list must be referred to the leadership and respective party organs.

However, the ad hoc committee members said that official deliberations are yet to begin and that last week’s meeting was for familiarisation. “The formal meeting will happen after the names are brought to Parliament and approved,” said Senate Majority Whip Boni Khalwale.

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