Security Beefed In Kenya Ahead Of Mass Action By The Opposition
By Samuel Ouma
Kenyan President William Ruto has deployed security officers around State House in Nairobi and Kisumu ahead of mass protests, which will likely kick off on Thursday.
In Nairobi, the officers were sent to guard roadblocks erected on several routes, including State House Road, the route between Kenya Comfort Suites, Ralph Bunche Road, State House Gate C, Processional Way, Crawford Business Park and Statehouse Girls.
Police in Kisumu meanwhile blocked off the State Lodge’s access route.
The roads were secured as the opposition leader Raila Odinga’s 14-day ultimatum to President William Ruto near its expiry. Odinga demands opening of election servers, cutting the cost of living, and cancelling the reconstitution of the Independent Election and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
The ultimatum, which was issued at Jevanjee Gardens in Nairobi on February 22, will expire today.
“We’ve talked about the rising cost of basic commodities like unga (maize flour), electricity, fuel, sugar and milk among others for far too long. We have complained about rising taxes and talked about children dropping out of school for lack of fees,” said Odinga during the opposition’s prayer rally at Jevanjee Gardens.
“Withdrawal of subsidies to food and education in the middle of drought and famine was reckless and heartless. Consequently, the subsidies must be restored, and the cost of basic commodities and taxes must come down in the next 14 days,” he added.
The Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya Alliance leader has also maintained that he won the August 9, 2022, general elections but was shortchanged. He is demanding the opening of the election server to know the truth.
He vowed not to recognize Ruto as the President, saying it is an illegitimate administration that forced its way to power.
“Ruto stole my victory and I will go after it. The whistleblower has spoken and now the truth is in the public domain. I want you to believe the whistleblower, I am confident about it. The whistleblower came with machines and they got the real results,” reiterated Odinga.
A whistleblower, an insider in the IEBC, published a report claiming that Odinga trounced Ruto in the election with more than 3 million votes.