Raila Odinga's 15 million signature puzzle in anti-Ruto demos

Azimio leader Raila Odinga walks to stage to pick a Public Service vehicle to Nairobi's CBD on July 10, 2023.

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya will today launch signature collection drive to serve as testament to Kenyans’ dissatisfaction with President William Ruto’s regime.

Reports from the Azimio Secretariat reveal that they will clearly stipulate how they will carry out the drive targeting 15 million signatures after Raila Odinga kicked off the exercise during the rally at Kamkunji grounds, Nairobi, on Friday, last week.

In push to rally support for signature collection drive, Raila yesterday ditched his fuel guzzlers for public transport to Nairobi CBD where he made a stop over and urged Kenyans to raise their voices against government's disregard for the rising cost of living.

The Azimio leader criticized the implementation of punitive taxes saying they will worsen the hard economic times faced majority Kenyans.

“Kenyans have reasons and the ability to bring change in their lives through their sovereignty. We told Ruto not to overburden Kenyans and he failed to listen and that has to be brought to a stop,” said Raila.

“We will collect 15 million signatures to show that Kenyans don’t support the illegitimate government of Ruto and Gachagua. Are you ready to append your signatures? Are you ready?” Posed the Azimio leader amid cheers from the crowd.

Azimio Executive Committee Chairman and former Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya who accompanied Raila said that Parliament has been compromised and the coalition is now bringing the political battle against the government to the people.

“Most of our MPs have been bought and now we are coming back to the citizens to have them make a decision and that’s why we have come to you, the people,” said Oparanya.

The former governor called on the people to turn up in large numbers for the peaceful protest tomorrow.

“We are peaceful citizens and we respect the rule of law. We shall exercise our democratic right peacefully and in an organised manner on Wednesday,” said Raila.

Speaking on Spice FM yesterday, Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua said she initiated the signature collection during the July 7 Saba Saba March in Kirinyaga.

Azimio leader Raila Odinga boards a p[ublic service vehicle to town.

She emphasized the significance of the signature collection in enabling Kenyans to exercise their sovereignty directly and to gauge the extent of popular support for their cause.

“It is not possible even if you have huge rallies to demonstrate that a majority of Kenyans support our cause and are against the government and its policies. It is like a roll call,” said Karua. The Narc Kenya leader noted the need for a higher threshold than the number of votes received by President William Ruto in previous elections.

With approximately 22.1 million registered voters and 14 million votes cast, the signature collection drive seeks to reflect a broader representation of the populace than President Ruto's voting base alone.

Karua said the signature collection is expected to be complete soon.

However, she cautioned that even large rallies may not provide an accurate measure of overall support, emphasizing the importance of the signature roll call as a means to gauge widespread discontent with the government.

Despite Raila's push to delegitimize the Kenya Kwanza regime, the former IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati yesterday said experts from the Supreme Court, Kenya Kwanza, and Azimio scrutinized servers during the presidential election petition against Ruto's victory.

Chebukati emphasized that the scrutiny encompassed the entire technology deployed by the IEBC, and the Supreme Court ultimately concluded that the polls were conducted in a free, fair, and credible manner.

"The Supreme Court, after going through the evidence, said that the technology deployed by IEBC for the conduct of the elections met standards of integrity, verifiability, security, and transparency to guarantee accurate and verifiable results," he said during a presentation on how IEBC managed the 2022 polls.