Raila Odinga to sue William Ruto over 1982 coup claims

Former Defence CS Eugene Wamalwa, Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga and NARC Kenya's Martha Karua at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga foundation during a past presser.  [Denis Kibuchi, Standard]

Azimio La Umoja leader Raila Odinga has said he will sue President William Ruto over claims that he was involved in the 1982 coup.

Speaking at Mazembe ground in Nakuru City on Thursday during the Azimio public baraza, Raila said he was cleared of treason charges instituted against him.

“I was charged with treason and stayed in prison for six months. I was taken to court, but in the end, the government failed to prove the case against me,” said Raila.

“I was discharged for lack of sufficient evidence against me in 1983. So, Mr Ruto should know I was discharged. I will sue you for defamation,” he declared, while rallying his troops for the planned Monday protest march to State House in Nairobi.

Raila was responding to Ruto’s claim that he was an anarchist who caused bloodshed, destruction of property and looting for almost 50 years in the country with his demonstration.

While issuing a warning to Raila over the planned demonstration on Monday, Ruto said Raila was not above the law and that he would not be allowed to operate outside the Constitution and established laws.

Azimio leader Raila Odinga leading People's Baraza in Nakuru Town. [Emmanuel Wanson, Standard]

“We are a nation because we have decided to submit ourselves to the Constitution and the law that governs our country,” Ruto had said on Wednesday during a meeting at State House, Nairobi, with Trans Nzoia leaders.

But on Thursday, Raila, who disputed the presidential results of the August 9, 2022 election, said he would not be cowed to back down on his push for electoral justice and calls for the cost of living to go down.

He said his push for a fair and just society started back when President Ruto was a young man under his mother’s care, and therefore the Kenya Kwanza Regime would not stop him now.

Raila, who was accompanied by Kalonzo Musyoka, Eugene Wamalwa, Jeremiah Kioni, Wycliffe Oparanya, and George Wajackoyah among others, dismissed claims that his supporters were planning to loot businesses in Nairobi, attack innocent people and cause chaos.

“We will have a peaceful protest. We will protect the businesses of all the people and maintain law and order during the demonstration in Nairobi,” he said.

The opposition leader said he was prepared to die for a worthy cause, adding that those planning to harm him should know that even if they hurt him physically, his ideology will remain forever.

Raila Odinga was arrested along with the University of Nairobi students in 1982 and accused of treason. [File, Standard] 

“You can assassinate me physically, but not my ideas. I am prepared to pay the ultimate price but to liberate the people of Kenya,” Raila said.

He added: “We want real liberation in Kenya and are prepared for any eventuality. We will not destroy businesses, we have no problem with the people of Kenya, but we have a problem with Mr Ruto.”

Kalonzo told the public baraza at Mazembe grounds in Nakuru West Constituency that Azimio was fighting for Kenyans, and not individual politicians.

He vowed to ensure law and order is maintained during the demonstration and peace was upheld by the protestors.

The leaders said the march in Nairobi kicks off an unprecedented campaign of defiance against Ruto and his regime.