Opposition chief Raila Odinga and other Azimio leaders have blamed President William Ruto for the chaos that erupted during anti-government demonstrations on Monday.
Speaking at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation in Nairobi, yesterday, Raila claimed that before jetting out of the country President Ruto had given clear instructions on how to deal with Azimio leaders and supporters during the demonstrations. The President is away on a four-day day tour of Europe.
“Under the direction of Ruto and Gachagua, police did everything to ensure the protests degenerate into chaos and lead to death,” he said
The opposition leader further condemned the police on how they handled the protesters, arguing that they were peaceful but kept being provoked by the police
He took a swipe at the President and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua over the attack on his company, East Africa Spectre Limited, and the invasion of Northlands farm owned by the family of former President Uhuru Kenyatta, saying they were opening a class war that will end up hurting the economy of the country.
Raila said no law allows the Executive to order Kenyans to invade other people’s land and businesses in the name of quelling legitimate, peaceful and constitutional protests.
“The last time we witnessed such invasion of farms and companies in this part of the world was when Robert Mugabe claimed to be compensating freedom fighters in Zimbabwe. It ended in total collapse of Zimbabwe’s economy. It will not be any different here.
“We see little hope for new investments in our economy or the expansion of existing ones. We are looking at the beginning of the end of the economy of this country,” he said.
In scenes which sent shock waves across the country, goons armed with crude weapons spent the better part of the day inside the Northlands farm, felling trees with power saws, lighting fires and stealing livestock.
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“How does Ruto go to Germany and talk about attracting German foreign investments to Kenya knowing very well that back at home, he has put in place a machinery for vicious attack on local investments?” Raila said.
The Azimio leader, who later visited the Kenyatta farm in Ruiru, accused senior government officials of being behind the invasion in which more than 1,000 sheep were stolen.
He said the attacks were well planned, and that Gachagua, National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah and Kiharu MP Ndidi Nyoro had issued threats before invasion of the farm by the youth and should be held to account.
But Ichung’wah denied any involvement in the invasion of the Kenyatta farm saying: “There wasn’t anyone who reported to any police station of distress. It was a well-choreographed script to make the country ungovernable to force negotiations by international community but that will not happen.”
Raila said Inspector General of Police Japeth Koome was “vague in his comments about the attack, pretending not to be aware of what happened.”
“The sanctity of title deeds and private property should be respected. They cannot allege to be sons of Mau Mau and have instead discredited Mau Mau. It was not by accident that police officers were not at the scene despite a police post being near the farm.
“In the age of climate change, how does Ruto sanction the setting of trees on fire and still hope to convince us that he is committed to mitigating climate change and ensuring green growth? Why would foreign leaders and businesses entertain such a conflicted personality?” said Raila.
Residents living near the Kenyatta family farm denied participating in the invasion, saying outsiders were involved.
Narc-Kenya Party leader Martha Karua faulted the police boss over the farm invasion.
Ms Karua said Koome had failed to take action when goons invaded the property of former President Uhuru Kenyatta but “deploys police to block and teargas lawful demonstrations.”
“It’s up to NPS to demonstrate to Kenyans whether they maintain law and order or countenance goons to cause destruction and injury,” she said.
Raila said that prior notice was given to Koome and the Nairobi Police Commander yet police had declared the demonstrations illegal.
He claimed that the torching of a Presbyterian church in Kibra was a plot to incite violence between communities living in the area.
“You saw the police attacking us and sent goons in Kibra to bring conflict between Christians and Muslims with the burning of a mosque and a church in the area,” he said.
Raila said he had warned against the narrative of tribalism and division by class, arguing that this was what Kenya Kwanza was manifesting in their pledges. He reiterated the country needed to embrace a tradition of making compromises for the sake of the nation.
“We warned that leaders needed to unclench their fists for the sake of the nation and we called for the cleansing of the land of the spirit of anger and bitterness, the spirit of revenge and entitlement, and to continue on a path that reconciles, unites, calms and stabilizes the nation,” he said.
He also faulted the international community over what he termed its loud silence amid alleged attempts by the Kenya Kwanza government to muzzle the opposition.
African Union chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat called for calm and restraint, urging leaders to “engage in dialogue to address any differences that may exist in the supreme interest of national unity and reconciliation.”