‘We will not march to State House,' Raila clarifies on planned Monday protests
Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition party leader Raila Odinga has shed light on the planned countrywide protests on Monday saying that only a few emissaries from the opposition political outfit will be sent to State House, contrary to reports circulating online.
Speaking to Citizen TV on Saturday, Odinga clarified that the coalition would not unlawfully march to the house on the hill but would send its representatives to communicate their grievances to President William Ruto.
He said that, through former Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, the coalition had already informed the Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome about the said peaceful demonstrations.
“We are people who respect and know the law…Our leader Wycliffe Oparanya wrote to the Inspector General of Police informing him that we would hold a rally. Those who will be able to come to Nairobi will come to Nairobi and those unable will hold their meetings wherever they will be,” he said.
“It will be peaceful protests and they have the memorandum which they will take to different government offices. Here in Nairobi, we also have the memos which we are going to take to the President. If he will be in Harambee House, we will take the memos there, if he will be in State House, we will send people to take it there; not the crowd. We will send a message through a few people to take our petition to the President, not the whole crowd.”
Even though Odinga did not reveal who would be sent, he said the party’s committee would make the decision in due course.
“We will send a message through a few people to take our petition to the President. I don’t know if I will be part of the team but if I’m picked by the party members, I will go.”
Consequently, Odinga allayed fears of trespass for his supporters owing to the fact that State House is a protected zone saying that Constitutionally, the residence is a public office that every Kenyan should be allowed to visit.
He however noted that if denied entry, the selected team would leave their message to the Head of State at the State House entrance.
“State House is a public institution where you can go any time, it is not private. It is not that it is a protected area where the public cannot access, it is the office of the president,” Odinga emphasized.
“We will send people to deliver the letter. If they are allowed to enter, they will enter. If not, they will leave it at the gate.”
On why he did not reach out to the Head of State in a personal capacity but instead chose to hold protests, Odinga accused President Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua of “pride” and looking down on the opposition leaders.
He reiterated that since the government did not to address their issues within the 14 days ultimatum they had initially given, the protests would go on even after Monday until the issues are addressed.
“If he (Ruto) wanted to talk, he would have. We gave him 14 days to get back but he didn’t, he refused and only addressed us on television. His deputy talks proudly and uses a demeaning language,” he stated.
”This is the language they will understand. The demos will go on even beyond Monday until the whole world knows there is a problem in Kenya.”
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