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Raila alleges scheme by Ruto's regime to frustrate devolution

Azimio leader Raila Odinga greets Uganda opposition leader Kizza Besigye during the burial of former West Mugirango MP Benson Kegoro in Nyamira County. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition leader Raila Odinga has accused President William Ruto's regime of a ploy to use the national administration structures to oppress the opposition and undermine devolution.

Raila believes the new administration intends to give excessive powers to officials under the Ministry of Interior at the expense of empowering counties.

In a fresh wave of attacks challenging the Kenya Kwanza regime, the ODM leader claimed there are efforts to suppress democracy at the grassroots through the use of 'provincial administrations'.

Raila's concerns come as he intensifies his bid to strengthen the opposition to build a formidable pillar to keep the Kenya Kwanza regime in check.

Speaking at Menyenya Primary School grounds where he joined other political leaders during the burial of former West Mugirango MP Benson Kegoro, Raila said Ruto was determined to give more powers to the grassroots national government systems to suppress democracy.

Raila said one of the indicators that Ruto was not willing to support devolution as per the Constitution was the way he was reluctant to give counties money for the devolved functions.

"The current Constitution does not have provisions for provincial administration. It is an attempt to undermine the authority of elected people in counties by supplanting his unconstitutional offices like the regional commissioners, county commissioners, and other lower cadre officers," Raila said.

Although the systems were also embraced by the last regime, there is belief in Raila's camp that they are being strengthened to oversee operations and development activities at the grassroots at the expense of elected leaders.

Raila's claims mirror the allegations that Ruto also made in the build-up to last year's elections when he accused the Azimio coalition of an attempt to use chiefs and the provisional administration to undermine their opponents.

Fresh criticism

On Sunday, however, the ODM leader, who launched a fresh wave of criticism against the government, claimed the focus of the government should be to empower elective offices.

He described Ruto's presidency as an oppressive regime and rallied Kenyans to raise their voices against the ills fronted by Kenya Kwanza.

He claimed Ruto has abandoned taxpayers and is only focused on making endless promises.

He eulogised Mzee Kegoro, who is the father of human rights advocate George Kegoro, as among the freedom fighters the country had and as one of the key people who helped develop the current constitution.

Also present during the burial ceremony were Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua, Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye, ODM deputy party leader Wycliffe Oparanya, governors Amos Nyaribo (Nyamira), Simba Arati (Kisii), senators Okong'o Mogeni (Nyamira) and Richard Onyonka (Kisii). 

Karua said the government is unable to implement meaningful policies to ease the cost of living.

Besigye urged Kenyans to unite and forge a common unity that will extend to the East Africa Community and even the African Union.

By AFP 3 hrs ago
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