Kenyans on edge as Ruto goes for Uhuru over resumption of demos

At least nine people were killed and scores, including police officers, were injured during the protests. Over 300 people were arrested across the country. Property of unknown value was also destroyed. This included vandalism of the Nairobi Expressway, especially at Mololongo in Machakos County. Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen put the cost of repairing the Expressway at a massive Sh700 million.

Credible sources told The Standard that the investigations also focus on the role money played in the demos and their origin.

Early this year, a series of consultative meetings were held in Kiambu which security agencies suspect were meant to whip up the emotions of residents, the majority of whom supported President Ruto's UDA during the elections.

In April and June, university student unions began to revitalize, raising suspicions in government circles that they were being prepared for national political activities.

While Wednesday's widespread protests gripped the nation, it was no surprise to security agencies that had been tracking the mobilisation efforts.

Hands-off approach

Investigators are, however, having a difficult time placing the former president at the centre of things given his hands-off approach to political activities.

Previously, Kenyatta delivered his subtle political messages through embattled Jubilee vice chairman David Murathe.

Yesterday, Murathe told The Standard that former President Kenyatta has retired and did not have any interest in politics as he had indicated.

"What interest does Uhuru have to frustrate his successor? The Constitution does not allow him to vie for any seat, so he is enjoying his retirement and I don't understand why they keep on mentioning his name," said Murathe.

Murathe said the government had its right to pursue whatever taxation measure they wanted to raise money to run the country.

"They need to come to their senses and say we need to raise money, how do we go about it in a way that does not hurt the common man," he said.

He said Kenya Kwanza and Azimio need to stop the grandstanding and save the country from sliding into chaos.

Protestors barricade a section of the road during anti-government protests in Nakuru city on Wednesday, July 12, 2023. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Murathe also took issue with the opposition's fight against taxation.

"What business do you have to insist that this is not the taxation measure to use? This government is saying I want to do one two, three, four, if they do not reason with the people, the same people will reject it," he said.

On Sunday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki and his Transport and Roads counterpart Kipchumba Murkomen accused the former president of orchestrating the protests.

Prof Kindiki accused former state officials of using what he called unorthodox means to derail their successors.

"All persons, including current and former political leaders and public office holders, have an obligation to follow the law. Retired office holders, including former presidents, governors, MPs or MCAs must allow their successors to execute their mandate and not resort to blackmail, sabotage, and other unorthodox means to derail them," he said.

Murkomen accused former Uhuru of allegedly funding Azimio to cause chaos through the street protests.

Innocent citizens

"I want to tell former President Uhuru Kenyatta to let go of Raila and give him space to make his own decisions. The support you are aiding him, the incitements, and the finance you are chipping in is being used to destroy the lives of innocent citizens," claimed the Transport CS while attending a service at AIPCA Bahati Cathedral in Nairobi on Sunday.

He accused Raila of crying foul over 'his stolen victory' saying the opposition abandoned bipartisan talks that would have yielded the solutions to their demands.

Murkomen warned that the government will hold the opposition leader accountable for the chaotic protests.

"If Raila was left alone, he would have chosen a different path. I want to urge Uhuru, just like Pharaoh, to let the Israelites go, I think I want to tell Uhuru Kenyatta because I know him, let Raila go, leave him alone," he said.

East African Legislative Assembly MP Kanini Kega asked the former president to come out and stop Raila from organising the demos.

"What we are asking Uhuru is that he should accept that Ruto won the election and ask Raila to stop the demos," Kanini said during a thanksgiving for Bahati MP Irene Njoki.