Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga has stated that he will not be intimidated into cancelling Monday’s nationwide protests.
Mr Odinga stated in a speech in Nakuru City on Thursday that the planned protests would be peaceful.
While referring to his encounters with the regime of former President Daniel Moi, Mr Odinga stated that he will not be intimidated by veiled threats from President William Ruto and other government officials.
“William Ruto and [Deputy President] Rigathi Gachagua cannot intimidate us. I’d like to tell them that I fought for this country’s second liberation.
They have no idea what I’ve been through. In 1983, I was arrested, charged in court, and sentenced to prison, but I was released due to a lack of evidence.
“I fought for democracy and was imprisoned for eight years while some of them were still breastfeeding,” Mr Odinga said.
“We feared the lion (Moi), but we uprooted its teeth. “I am ready and willing to pay the ultimate price while fighting for Kenya’s liberation,” Mr Odinga added, to applause from the enraged crowd.
Why the protest
Mr Odinga justified the March 20 demonstrations by calling them the “mother of all protests,” which are expected to bring the country to a halt.
President Ruto’s refusal to allow an audit of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) servers, the high cost of living after the government eliminated subsidies, nepotism in the Kenya administration, failure to consult other stakeholders in the reconstitution of the IEBC, broken promises, and an illegitimate government are among them.
Mr Odinga’s first public appearance in Nakuru since losing to President Ruto in last year’s elections was at the rally.
At the same time, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, the leader of the Wiper party, insisted that Monday’s protests would be peaceful and warned foreign countries not to interfere in Kenya’s affairs.
“Our march will be peaceful and non-violent. Whoever brings violence is not one of us. “We will protest until William Ruto leaves the State House,” Mr Musyoka stated.
“We know they have plans to use a few of their supporters to loot shops and blame it on Azimio (opposition coalation), but l want to tell them that we shall be very disciplined. “The constitution gives us enough freedom,” Mr Musyoka added.
Presidential elections in 2022
Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka both claimed that the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition would win the presidential elections in 2022.
“I was with Raila Odinga when our votes were stolen in 2013, and we accepted the court’s decision. It happened in 2017, but Uhuru prioritised the country by bringing in Raila. But for what happened in 2022, we will not allow it,” Mr Musyoka stated.
According to political observers, Mr. Odinga used Thursday’s rally in Nakuru City to test the waters in Ruto’s territory ahead of the Monday protest.
Mr Odinga will hold a rally in Kiambu County in central Kenya on Friday to build support for the protests.