Gachagua hits out at Raila over violence in Wednesday protests

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua.[Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has criticized Azimio leader Raila Odinga for his persistent calls for mass action in the country. 

In a widely circulating video seen by The Standard, Gachagua alleged that Odinga is responsible for the tragic loss of innocent lives under the pretense of organizing peaceful protests. 

"How much blood must be shed, Raila Odinga, for you to be satisfied? The people of Kenya have rejected you five times. Now that you are aged 80, what are you still fighting for?" posed Gachagua.

The DP called on Odinga to consider retiring from politics.

He also faulted the former premier, alleging that he manipulated and exploited innocent young individuals to incite violence and cause property damage under the guise of peaceful protests. "You have taken our young people, used them, and paid them peanuts,” he said. 

He further hit out at former President Uhuru Kenyatta for including Odinga in his administration, stating that his [Odinga’s] involvement was a problem in waiting. 

“The problems of this country will end once we deal with him once and for all,” he claimed.

Gachagua expressed regret that the Azimio-led protests had resulted in at least 10 deaths on Wednesday, with more deaths recorded during the Friday demonstrations last week.

The DP’s statement comes a day after Azimio supporters went on a rampage, causing significant damage to a section of the Nairobi Expressway in Mlolongo.

The widespread protests staged across the country resulted in fatalities and numerous injuries. Instances of looting, including in supermarkets and business outlets were also reported in various parts of the country.

Amidst the protests, Odinga cancelled the planned rally at Kamukuji grounds. He cited cases of police shootings, assaults, and harassment specifically targeted at Azimio supporters.

However, he expressed that the coalition would persist with the protests to compel the government to address the high cost of living, which has adversely affected many Kenyans.

On Thursday, ODM party Secretary General Edwin Sifuna announced that the Azimio coalition is contemplating holding protests three days in a week, beginning next week, from Monday to Wednesday.

“Starting next week, we are introducing protests in shifts. If you are available on Monday, join us for the demonstration. Similarly, those available on Tuesday and Wednesday can participate on those days. However, for those who can attend every day, we will hold protests on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday until the government heeds our demands,” said Sifuna.