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Azimio hopes for handshake deal, says Ruto

 President William Ruto during the Interdenominational church Service, Kerugoya Stadium, Kirinyaga County on January 22, 2023. [PCS, Standard]

President William Ruto has said the planned Azimio meeting at Kamukunji grounds is a ruse set up by ODM leader Raila Odinga in order for him to demand a handshake and join the government through the back door.

Azimio leaders have called for a People's Baraza Forum today to discuss recent disclosures by a whistleblower about the conduct of the General Election last year.

Earlier reports by the opposition, attributed to the whistleblower, claimed that presidential results had been manipulated in favour of President Ruto.

Speaking yesterday at a thanksgiving service at Kerugoya stadium in Kirinyaga county, the Head of State said the elections were free and fair, and that he would not be blackmailed or coerced into giving in to Raila's selfish interests.

"This country will never be held hostage by blackmail, coercion, and intimidation at the expense of a few individuals. The end has arrived; let them be satisfied with what they gained from threats in previous regimes," he said.

Legislators allied with Azimio, on the other hand, claim their victory was stolen and promise to tell the nation the truth about what happened during the election at Kamkunji meeting.

Ruto said his administration is focused on revitalising the economy and uniting Kenyans, and he urged Kenya Kwanza leaders to deny their opponents the opportunity to sow the seeds of division to derail their agenda.

He also said the meetings surrounding last year's General Election were funded by tea and coffee cartels but vowed to work with Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua to eliminate the cartels in the agriculture sector.

"The agriculture sector's cartels in the coffee, tea, and dairy industry are financing the planned meetings, but we warn them that our farmers can no longer be slaves of brokers and cartels," the President said, without going into further detail.

Gachagua admitted that the cartels were ruthless and dangerous, and pleaded for the President's help in reforming the sector, saying the previous administration had failed to eliminate them because they were part of the oppressors.

While dismissing the whistleblower's allegations about election results, the DP urged the President to delegate responsibility for dealing with the opposition to him.

"He intimidated the administrations of Moi, Kibaki, and Uhuru, and the Presidents caved into his demands, but he will not succeed with President Ruto. I'll deal with him in a week or two, and there will be no more noise," he said.

Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro said the 'so-called whistleblower' had been hired by the Azimio coalition and thus his allegations were unfounded.

"There is nothing like a whistleblower; the person they claim is a whistleblower is known to us and was hired for $15,000 by Azimio to monitor the polls; they can't convert their employee to a whistleblower," Nyoro said.

Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki said the Azimio leaders have hatched a plan to confuse the government.

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