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Leaders urge Ruto and Raila to give dialogue a chance

 Azimio leader Raila Odinga and President William Ruto. [Standard]

Pressure continues to pile on President William Ruto and Azimio leader Raila Odinga to stop grandstanding and embrace dialogue.

Religious, union and political leaders are calling on Dr Ruto and Raila to sit down and initiate talks to save the country from degenerating into chaos. The leaders said the next generation will hold them to account should their hardline positions burn the country.

Leading the call for dialogue ahead of the planned Azimio protests today, Nyeri Catholic Archbishop Anthony Muheria and Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Francis Atwoli said there is a need for the president and Azimio leader to jealously guard the peace the country enjoys.

Atwoli asked the government to ensure the security of workers.

Speaking at his home in Khwisero, Kakamega County, the Cotu boss urged the two political camps to find a way that will lead to an enabling environment for people to carry out their daily chores without disruptions.

"Most Kenyans earn after they have done work, and as an organisation, we are in place to protect and ensure workers and Kenyans, in general, have a good working environment to earn their living. Therefore, I urge leaders to give them a conducive environment," said Atwoli.

He added: "When most of these hardworking citizens fail to report on their jobs it means that most of them will not get their daily pay because few are on the monthly payment, therefore our men and women should be able to access their place of work."

Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) Secretary General Akelo Misori called on Ruto and Raila to find a neutral ground and bring normalcy.

According to Misori, the demonstrations were disrupting learning activities in schools as well as putting learners, teachers and support staff at risk.

"We opened schools late this term and taking a day off class will mean we find another compressed calendar in our timetable to be able to cover what we are now losing. As teachers' representatives, we will not support this," Misori said.

The Kuppet boss regretted that in some areas school-going children were being used in demonstrations as shields.

"As a union, we will take these people to court to challenge the harm they are extending to our staff, students and the education sector," warned Misori.

Kenya Parents Association national chairman Silas Obuhatsa said parents will not support the demonstration, but will instead focus on putting food on the table and looking for school fees

"Monday is a working day, as parents closing our businesses will not bring food or school fees to our table. We have faced a lot of challenges that need our own attention," said Obuhatsa.

Speaking after attending a conference at Kenyatta International Conference Centre presided over by Zimbabwe pastor Rev. W Magaya, former Nairobi Governor Anne Kananu said since Ruto had shown his leaning to the spiritual realm, he can climb down and give dialogue a chance.

"Kenya is bigger than all of us. I'm calling upon Odinga as a leader we respect as a father figure to all of us, there are better ways of handling issues," Kananu said.

"The two can have a cup of tea and resolve their challenges."

Kananu said the city is a hub of business and there is no need to cause havoc.

Siasa Place Executive Director Nerima Wako-Ojiwa said: "It is important that the administration is pressured on important matters, but it needs to be done in a space of respect. Other avenues should be explored, leaving mass demonstrations as the last resort."

Pentecostal Assemblies of God Eastleigh Bishop Peter Barasa said the havoc caused by last week's protests was huge and the same should not be repeated.

According to Barasa, it is ordinary Kenyans who suffer due to the chest thumbing between the opposition and government.

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