Give Kenyans a short break Raila, Azimio

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Party principals Martha Karua, Raila Ondinga and Kalonzo Musyoka during a political rally at Kamkunji Grounds in Kibra on April 28,2023. [Silas Otieno, Standard]

Raila Odinga returned to the country last week after a brief stint abroad. As expected, the Azimio leader came back breathing fire and announced resumption of street demonstrations that he suspended recently.

But while no one can begrudge Raila, the Azimio brigade and their supporters their constitutional right to hold demonstrations over the collapse of the planned bipartisan talks, the high cost of living and to demand the opening of the IEBC servers, we implore them not to do so.

Majority of Kenyans have grown tired of weekly protests, mostly in Nairobi and Kisumu, that besides paralysing businesses have led to needless deaths and destruction of property. However noble the intentions of the organisers of the demonstrations are, such mayhem, brought forth by demonstrators and the police alike, make level-headed Kenyans to abhor these protests.

Without doubt, Raila's insistence that the demos will go on and President William Ruto's vowing not to allow them to, sets the stage for another round of street confrontations that would leave peace-loving Kenyans counting losses yet again.

But it is not only in the interest of peace that we urge the two leaders to pursue other means of settling their differences at the moment.

While 'Baba was away', Kenya and the world were horrified by the discovery of graves holding more than 100 (and still counting) bodies of people who died allegedly after being convinced by a cult leader to starve themselves to death "so that they can see Jesus". In short, many families across the country are in agony over the death or disappearance of their loved ones in Kilifi. Kenyans are waiting with trepidation for the full horror of Shakahola to be unearthed.

Responsible leaders not only sympathise with those who have lost their loved ones to such tragedies but also support them. No matter their differences, leaders worth their salt come together during such times.

Holding ugly political demos would be a show of disrespect to the dead, who the government and leaders failed to deflect from deadly indoctrination, and also mourning families and Kenyans who crave for peace of mind at this time.

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