William Ruto vows to end demos, rules out use of lethal force

President William Ruto addresses Etago residents in Kisii County on July 22, 2023. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

President William Ruto has vowed to restore calm and ensure the country remains peaceful after skirmishes witnessed last week during the Azimio protests.

Speaking in Vihiga and Kisii yesterday, Ruto urged Kenyans to ignore calls by Azimio chief Raila Odinga to take to the streets in what he termed unconstitutional and unwarranted demonstrations.

But as he addressed residents in the two counties, the Azimio brigade announced new dates for mass action and setting the stage for another showdown with security agencies. Ruto, however, indicated that he will not heed calls from some of his allies pushing him to rain terror on the opposition leaders and their supporters.

He appeared to be relishing another political contest with Azimio and claimed that he will beat them hands down in the 2027 polls.

“I have told the people who are planning protests to stop their shenanigans,” he said. 

Ruto was in Vihiga to commission the Vihiga Water Cluster Project funded to the tune of Sh1.7 billion by donors and the State that will benefit over 400,000 families.

In Kisii, the President issued cheques to more than 100 women groups in South Mugirango.

He warned that the government will not allow anarchy or violence that has caused loss of lives and property. “Everyone in Kenya deserves an opportunity to do their businesses and agriculture to uplift their lives,” argued Ruto.

The Head of State dared Azimio la Umoja leaders Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka to front their own children during the protests.

“Those behind the protests ought to stop it but if they insist on carrying on with the demonstrations, they should first recall their children serving at the East African Legislative Assembly and wives and have them in the frontline during the protests,” said Ruto.

He castigated the opposition leadership for misleading a section of Kenyans to let their children take part in the protests “yet the children of those planning the protests are not part of it.”

Without referring to Raila by name, Ruto noted that the time for politics was over and urged those who lost to wait for the 2027 polls.

“I have told my brothers to stop these violent protests that have led to the destruction of property and the shedding of blood. We went to the ballot and Kenyans finished the election, if they want a rematch, let them come in 2027 and we will defeat them again,” said Ruto.

According to the President, the opposition ought to allow him to accomplish the developmental agenda he promised the people in the Kenya Kwanza manifesto.

The National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah who accompanied Ruto told the latter to clamp down on the opposition over their demonstrations. “For this issue of protests, let us leave it to the President to clamp them down. Should the president resort to the use of force?” Ichung’wah posed while addressing a crowd in Mbale.

Unorthodox ways

This comes hours after police officers raided the residence of former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s eldest son Jomo Muigai in Karen on Friday night. Ichung’wah said the opposition was using unorthodox ways to play victims in the protests.

He told the opposition leaders to stop using innocent Kenyans in their selfish agenda of causing anarchy in the country.  The MP claimed Azimio leaders who own licensed firearms were giving the guns to goons targeting innocent Kenyans and attacking the police during protests.

This is even as Raila claimed the State had formed a killer squad dubbed, Operation Support Unit, that disguises itself as police officers to harm demonstrators.

Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi said it was time for the nation to focus on development and mending the already deteriorated economy.

By AFP 5 hrs ago
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