Raila vows to hold protest rally

Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga. [Samson Wire, Standard]

Azimio leader Raila Odinga says Kenyans are already impatient with President William Ruto and his Kenya Kwanza government.

This, he says, is the reason he will hold a public meeting at Kamukunji grounds in Nairobi on Wednesday.

Speaking at an Azimio rally for the Utawala ward by-election yesterday, Raila vowed he will hold a parallel meeting at the same grounds on Jamhuri Day on December 12.

He called on the public to turn up in large numbers for the two rallies which he says will provide a way forward in seeking to put the government in check. The Azimio leader accused Ruto of having promised Kenyans that the Hustler funds will be interest free, yet they are now getting little loans "which cannot solve their problems."

"You all heard Ruto moving around the country promising Kenyans very many things including interest free Hustler Fund. Have Kenyans gotten the cash they were promised? This is an obvious sign that he is not going to keep his promises," he said. Raila assured Kenyans that Azimio was united and will keep the government in check to avert a "return to the dark days and corruption."

He criticised Ruto for leaving out some communities in government appointments. The opposition leader said the President had promised Kenyans during campaigns that he would ensure all communities were represented in government.

"Ruto has clearly shown a bad example very early in his leadership where in his appointments, he has left out some communities. He needs to tell us why some communities deserve more positions than others yet are all Kenyans and deserve to be treated equally," said Raila.

Mr Patrick Karani, the Jubilee Party candidate in the Utawala Ward by-election and Embakasi East MP Babu Owino said the "Cherera Four" who are facing a tribunal should not be punished for having had a divergent opinion on the August 9 election results.

The leader said the four IEBC commissioners had legitimate concerns about the conduct of the election.

Babu alleged that Raila won the last election but his victory was stolen by people who are now hellbent on punishing commissioners Juliana Cherera, Irine Masit, Francis Wanderi, and Justus Nyangaya for standing for the truth.

"Cherera, Masit, Wanderi and Nyangaya are being punished for standing for the truth. They had a right to hold a different view on how the exercise was conducted and should not be victimised for doing their job," he said.

Vihiga Senator Godfrey Osotsi said the Azimio leader's calls for public engagement meeting had the support of almost seven million Kenyans who voted for him. He claimed many Kenyans were not happy with the manner in which the government is run.

Mr Osotsi said Azimio supporters will join Raila for the public engagement meeting at Kamukunji Grounds on Wednesday to show their displeasure with the Ruto administration. During the rally, Wiper candidate for the Utawala Ward by-election Dickson Mireri stepped down in favour of Karani saying that the decision followed consultations with Azimio leaders.