Day of drama as Raila teargassed by police, barred from city centre

Raila, wearing what resembled combat uniform, complete with a khaki coloured cap and matching shirt and trousers arrived at the Serena Hotel around midday unnoticed where he is said to have joined Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka. The latter was said to have spent Sunday night at the facility where they monitored the happenings around the city.

At around 1pm Azimio governors, senators and MPs trooped to the hotel for lunch as they strategised for their entry into the city in the afternoon with a heavy contingent of security personnel barricading roads leading to Serena Hotel.

The opposition leaders left at around 2.30pm with Raila terming the demonstration a success despite the government unleashing police to break up what he termed as a peaceful demonstration, saying that would be a weekly occurrence going forward.

"Kenyans are going to demonstrate in Nairobi every week until the government listens to their demands to bring down the cost of living, including all the stakeholders in the formation of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and stop skewed employment," said Raila.

The Azimio leaders addressed crowds at City Stadium, Eastleigh, Kamukunji, Mathare and Thika Road.

Raila said that the government has displayed a high level of intolerance for attempting to stop the public from listening to them yet they were out to exercise their democratic right to picket and demonstrate so as to call the Kenya Kwanza regime to order.

He told President William Ruto's administration to be prepared to face the wrath of angry and hungry Kenyans who were disappointed with his failure to deliver election promises.

Teargas billowing at Serena Hotel where Azimio la Umoja leaders led by Raila Odinga were to hold a presser on march 20, 2023. [Jonah Onyangoi, Standard]

Security officers were stationed at all State House gates while the home of former President Uhuru Kenyatta which is nearby was also guarded with the gates locked with no activity being witnessed.

James Musyoka who operates a kiosk along Ring Road said he had opened his shop because they were assured of security but rowdy youths invaded it and took away everything before they were repulsed by the police.

"I had opened my shop because the government had assured us of security. Now I have lost everything despite being a poor Kenyan just like those who stole from me," said Musyoka.

Homa Bay Governor Gladys Wanga, Siaya Governor James Orengo, Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna, Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua, Suba North MP Milly Odhiambo, Roots party leader George Wajackoya and Jubilee Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni joined Raila in the rallies

Others were Likoni MP Mishi Mboko, Embakasi East MP Babu Owino, Kisumu Town West MP Rozah Buyu, Ruaraka MP Tom Kajwang, Migori Woman Rep Fatuma Mohammed and Nominated MP Irene Mayaka.

Senate Minority Leader Stewart Madzayo and National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi were arrested while participating in the demonstrations early in the day and taken to the DCI headquarters.

They were later released unconditionally.