Raila says president is turning into a dictator, vows to defend rights

President William Ruto looks on during the National Solemn Assembly at the Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi on February 14, 2023. [Kelly Ayodi, Standard]

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition has accused President William Ruto’s administration of embarking on a mission to kill democracy and push for the establishment of a dictatorial regime in the country.

The coalition appears to have opened new battlefronts it intends to take to challenge Ruto’s government and believes some of the decisions it has made are a systematic push back on democratic ideals.

Led by ODM party leader Raila Odinga, the coalition claims there are several red flags about a destructive path the new administration has taken but vowed to remain steadfast in their quest to checkmate the government.

Among the new battlefronts that the coalition has now picked to challenge Ruto include the plans to recruit new Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) officials, high cost of living and a relentless effort by Kenya Kwanza to woo its members.

The developments, according to Raila, are all geared towards hurting the country’s democratic ideals as the new regime strengthens its influence  across the country.

New headquarters

Speaking at the new Jubilee Party headquarters in Kileleshwa yesterday Raila cited developments that have taken place in the country in the recent past including the high cost of living which Azimio claims the government is responsible for.

They poured scorn on attempts by Kenya Kwanza to expand its support by luring more members to its fold.

“Everything we ever fought for and won is threatened. The Kenya Kwanza administration has launched an all-out assault on our hard-won multi-party democracy,” said the ODM leader. He was accompanied by Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Narc Kenya’s Martha Karua, and other Azimio leaders.

According to the Azimio’s principals, Ruto’s regime has embarked on a mission to kill other parties and is working round the clock to lure politicians to the president’s fold.

Their comments comes at a time when some members of the coalition have thrown their weight behind Kenya Kwanza and have expressed their interest to work with the government.

Yesterday, Raila claimed some of the leaders have been bought by the new regime as part of a wider strategy to kill multi-party democracy.

“There is an all-out push by the Kenya Kwanza regime to kill other parties, buy and co-opt members of parliament into its ranks and intimidate and bully all those that resist the administration’s illegal, unconstitutional and anti-democratic maneuvers,” Raila said.

The coalition also waded into the woes former Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has endured in the recent days and claimed the government is on a path to dictatorship.

Raila said investigators and prosecutors have formed a united front and are pursuing a similar purpose that is a threat to the country’s democracy.

“We are courting disaster. We are feeding a monster from which, in due course, no one will be safe, not even those currently cheering,” he said.

The move by the president to kickstart the replacement of IEBC commissioners is also an issue that has rubbed Raila’s fold the wrong way.

Yesterday, Raila claimed the new administration has started the process to put in place a biased commission saying Kenya Kwanza was single-handedly deciding who takes up the roles.

“We have noted that despite our counsel, the Kenya Kwanza regime is hell-bent on proceeding to unilaterally and single-handedly reconstitute the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission,” said Raila.

The coalition has vowed to continue with the push against the developments through public barazas where they hope to generate enough public support to push the government to the wall. In their statement read by Raila, the coalition party said they will not be cowed and vowed to continue with the push against the changes taking place in the country.

 “As a party, we remain unbowed. We refuse to be intimidated. We will not succumb to blackmail,” said Raila.

Today, the coalition will pitch tent in Kisii for a public baraza where they hope to build momentum for their push. On Saturday, the team will be in Raila’s backyard of Kisumu for a similar rally.

The coalition has also organised prayers at Jevanjee gardens in Nairobi.