Raila's strategies to pressure Ruto over high cost of living

Homa Bay Woman Rep Joyce Osogo was carrying a sufuria and a cooking stick during a demonstration over high cost of living in Kanyadhiang’ village in Karachuonyo Constituency. [James Omoro, Standard] 

As the second month of 2024 takes shape, opposition coalition is preparing to face off with government in a move Azimio leader Raila Odinga has said will hold the President William Ruto’s administration accountable.

Starting the year with grassroots recruitment drives that have so far covered Western Kenya, Nyanza and the Coast, Raila has now encouraged other constituent parties to engage with the people and rally support for the coalition in the face of shrinking government approval ratings.

“We will be going to the Rift Valley, North Eastern, Eastern and the Mt Kenya region. We encourage PNU and all other constituent parties to do the same. Azimio will become strong if these constituent parties are strong,” said Raila at PNU’s national recruitment drive on Wednesday.

The move is one of the many promised following the Azimio Summit meeting that gathered the coalition’s top leadership, including Martha Karua (Narc-Kenya), Eugene Wamalwa (DAP-K), who resolved to challenge the Ruto administration to reconsider the recently imposed taxes and address the rising cost of living.

Raila disclosed that the coalition is also contemplating resuming street protests to pile more pressure on the government. These actions are part of a strategy to address citizens’ concerns and amplify their voices against perceived governmental excesses.

“Constituent parties have committed to pursuing a common programme of action that addresses the challenges the country is facing and that will also help to advance and defend the gains of democracy,” said Narc Kenya leader Karua.

The party has also hinted at a possible resurgence of demonstrations which were  a major method of exercising public dissent toward the Ruto regime.

The coalition leadership has stated that they also plan to enable the people to take action that will rid them of the “yoke” imposed on them by the government. “The Summit has committed to seek other ways to press the government to listen to the cries of the people. The litigation will only be one avenue. Other ways are being worked on whose ultimate aim is to force the regime to be sensitive to the tribulations of the people,” said Karua.

Wamalwa acknowledged the citizens’ collective effort to stand against perceived injustices, saying this display of courage is not confined to urban centres but resonates even in the remote parts of the country. He praised the determination of Kenyans to hold the government accountable, particularly in the face of what many view as insensitivity and misinformation.

“We encourage Kenyans to continue manifesting courage and call out the regime. We will stand with all Kenyans expressing such courage and determination to take back their country,” said Wamalwa.