UDA brigade calls for an end to intolerance after standoff at rally

Police use tear gas to disperse youths who had arrived at Jacaranda grounds for a political rally. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Deputy President William Ruto yesterday accused his political rivals of inciting youths to cause violence in political rallies.

Dr Ruto said his opponents were panicking and had resorted to hiring goons to disrupt Kenya Kwanza rallies.

“The polls in August will be for change and that of making better the lives of Kenya. The days of politics of violence are long gone,” he said. He spoke after police dispersed pro-Kenya Kwanza youths and Embakasi East MP Babu Owino supporters from Jacaranda Grounds in Embakasi, Nairobi, following a dispute over which side should hold a rally at the venue.

This was after the factions clashed, leaving at least two people injured including Embakasi East UDA aspirant Francis Mureithi.

A contingent of anti-riot police was deployed to the grounds to avert the clash after Kenya Kwanza and Babu Owino claimed to have booked the venue. Speaking to The Standard on the telephone, Embakasi Sub-county police commander Makau Masai said there would no political activity at that venue.

But Kayole Sub-county police commander Paul Wambugu said the Kenya Kwanza event was to go on as planned and the heavy police presence at the venue was for security reasons.

“It is normal for police officers to be present in a meeting because people are in attendance. There is only one meeting for Kenya Kwanza,” said Wambugu. Addressing supporters during the rally, Ruto said his priority was to revive the economy.

“They are scared because they don’t want us to talk about high food prices. They don’t want us to sell a message of hope. We are telling them that Kenya belongs to all of us,” he said.

The DP said youths should not be given handouts to throw stones. Instead, he added, they need jobs and businesses, which Kenya Kwanza government will deliver once it gets to power.

He accused President Uhuru Kenyatta of prioritising the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) at the expense of the Big Four agenda.

Ruto, at the same time, blamed the rising cost of living on the handshake between the President and Azimio leader Raila Oidnga saying it derailed the Jubilee government agenda. 

He said millions of small businesses are the mercy of shylocks. He promised to change the situation through the bottom-up economic model. The DP promised to set aside Sh100 billion to boost youths doing business and Sh50 billion for women in the SME sector.

Earlier, Ruto’s entourage was forced to stop as it snaked into the Jacaranda Grounds after police lobbed teargas canisters.

ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi condemned the violence and called on National Cohesion and Integration Commission to investigate the people behind the chaos.

Mudavadi said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has the power to disqualify anyone candidate perpetrating violence. Meanwhile, UDA yesterday wrote to IEBC, asking it to summon Inspector General of Police General Hillary Mutyambai over yesterday’s chaos in Jacaranda.

UDA Secretary General Veronica Maina said IEBC should summon the IG with ‘great speed’ to discuss the role of the pole during the campaigns.