Raila responds to Ruto over deploying security to Azimio rallies

Azimio leader Raila Odinga (right) and Jubilee Party secretary General Jeremiah Kioni (left) addressing the media on their planned rally termed ' Jamuhuri ya Wazalendo' at Jacarada grounds. November 5, 2022. [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga says nationwide public consultative forums set to start on Wednesday, December 7, at Kamukunji Grounds, Nairobi, are not demonstrations as has been interpreted by some Kenyans.

Odinga, who was speaking during a press briefing at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation on Monday, said the opposition will use the forums to share views on the state of affairs in the country.

He has since warned the government against bringing security to disrupt the meetings.

"If we wanted to do a protest, we would have informed the police to provide security but we are not demonstrating, we are not engaging in any act of thuggery or hooliganism and no property will be destroyed," said Odinga.

He added: "We urge the government not to use this as an excuse to bring thugs there to try and disrupt this function."

Yesterday, President William Ruto said he had instructed Interior Cabinet Secretary Kindiki Kithure to deploy enough security as the opposition carries out nationwide demonstrations.

"I have told Prof Kindiki to ask the opposition for their demonstration schedule so that we can give them enough security to protect them and to avoid property destruction," said Ruto.

The opposition has convened the forums in support of four Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) commissioners who disputed the August 9, presidential election.

The four commissioners; Juliana Cherera, Francis Wanderi, Irene Masit and Justus Nyang'aya, were suspended by President William Ruto over gross misconduct and violation of the Constitution.

Already, IEBC Vice-chairperson Juliana Cherera and one of the commissioners, Justus Nyang'aya, have resigned.

At the same time, the Azimio la Umoja faction says it will hold a parallel celebration at the Jacaranda Grounds on Jamuhuri Day.

"We will be celebrating Jamhuri Day with Kenyan patriots and it is also going to be a very peaceful congregation. No protests, no picketing, although that is also guaranteed by the constitution of Kenya," said Odinga.