Stop your lies, Raila tells Ruto as he warns of fresh mass protests

Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga during the coronation of Odungi Randa as the Luo Council of Elder Chairperson at Ofafa Hall grounds in Kisumu. [Michael Mute, Standard]

Azimio leader Raila Odinga says he is open to lead mass protests against the rising cost of living, urging his supporters to be on standby

Raila yesterday likened the economic situation to overburdened donkey.  “We have seen (President William) Ruto overtaxing Kenyans and forcing punitive taxes down their throats. We want to tell him that Kenyans are no longer tired, but they are down and unable to sustain the high cost of living, and it is on that note we will instruct Kenyans on what to do come next year,” he said.

“We want to start next year on a new and fresh ground... Youths, are you ready for next year to start on a higher note?”

Speaking at the Mulwanda Primary School in Khwisero, Kakamega, the opposition leader blamed Ruto for the coalition’s decision to consider going back to the streets, saying the President had refused to listen to leaders and suffering Kenyans.

“This Christmas season is the worst ever because  Kenyans have no money in their pockets due to the high cost of living. As the opposition, we have called upon this regime to lower the cost of living, and it has refused. It is time for Kenyans to say no,” said Raila.

The former Prime Minister criticised the Kenya Kwanza administration for going against their pledges on uplifting the lives of “hustlers” during campaigns.

“Ruto said he would uplift those people living below the poverty level whom he called hustlers, but he has abandoned them, and he is overtaxing them,” he said.

“Last month, the price of fuel worldwide was reduced by 45 per cent, and the government is supposed to reduce the price of fuel by Sh50, but Ruto has refused only to reduce it by Sh4. If you go to Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and DRC Congo, the price is lower than in Kenya. We want to tell Ruto to stop playing cards on Kenyans.”

He said Ruto was blaming the previous regime and external factors on the rising fuel cost.

“Surprisingly, Ruto is claiming that he has nothing to do because the price of fuel has been contributed by external factors. We want him to reduce the price of fuel,” he said.

Raila took issue with the Housing Levy. “We want to tell Ruto to stop forcing Kenyans to pay housing levy in the first place. Where will the said houses be built? For whom and where?”

“Ruto is not our creator. He should stop telling Kenyans whether they like or not they will pay the Housing Levy. We want to tell him that such talks ended with the Nyayo regime, and if he continues forcing the levy on Kenyans, we will lead Kenyans in saying no.”

ODM Deputy Party Leader Wycliffe Oparanya said President Ruto’s government was mistreating Kenyans.

“The price of fuel has gone up in Kenya, and yet the price of fuel worldwide has gone down. In Kenya, Ruto is doubling Value Added Tax on fuel. We want to tell our people we are in politics to stay so that we can save Kenyans against this taxing regime. They are claiming their hands are tied that they cannot do anything about the high cost of living, and we will not accept Kenyans to suffer more,” said the former Kakamega governor.

“Ruto lied to Western people that he would give them 30 per cent of government positions, but he has since betrayed them and for that reason, I am announcing that I am still in politics and I will lead our people in voting for my party leader Raila Odinga in 2027.”

Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa urged residents and Kenyans to rally behind Raila. “We are supporting our party leader in whatever he is doing because it is in the best interest of Kenyans, and I want to assure you (Raila) that Kakamega is fully behind you, and I am working very hard to deliver what I promise to my people,” he said.

Vihiga Senator Godfrey Osotsi opposed the call by Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi to Western people to rally behind Kenya Kwanza, stating that the Luhya nation has nothing to boast of in the regime.

“Our spokesperson in Western is Wycliffe Oparanya. We will not rally behind anyone else,” he said.