Test of will Monday as Uhuru, Raila take contrary positions on protests

October 15, 2017 5:28 pm
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Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the August 8 poll winner with 54.27 percent to 44.74 for challenger Raila Odinga © AFP / TONY KARUMBA, SIMON MAINA

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 15 – President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday backed his Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi’s position that the government would not sit idly by and allow Opposition protests that disturb the peace and lead to destruction on property.

Speaking during a campaign rally in Nyahururu on Sunday, President Kenyatta said that while he was not opposed to peaceful picketing, he drew the line at demonstrations that involved crude weapons such as stones hurled at the keepers of the peace and that jeopardised the ability of citizens to earn their livelihoods.

“You cannot play with the lives of Kenyans. You instigate violence cloaked as peaceful demonstrations but which peaceful protests involve attacking the police, damaging cars, looting or pelting police stations with rocks?” he posed.

“If you want to hold peaceful protest, hold peaceful protests but you cannot expect the authorities not to take action when the law is broken,” President Kenyatta.

Speaking on the same dias, Deputy President William Ruto once again accused Odinga of calling for protests in an effort to create instability and justify a negotiated presidency; a “ploy” Ruto said, Kenyans would not fall for.

“Can he stop embarrassing us as Kenyans. You fuel demonstrations then run to the West crying instability. Any challenges Kenya is experiencing have you at the root.

“Matiangi stand firm. Anybody who causes violence should face the full force of the law,” Ruto said.

 

Last week, Matiangi asked that the National Super Alliance Chief Executive Norman Magaya be held responsible for the destruction President Kenyatta listed above and which was witnessed on Wednesday and Friday respectively culminating in the killing of two protestors in Bondo by Police.

Magaya has however challenged Matiangi on the grounds that the ruling party’s henchmen going by the Nairobi Business Community were behind the robberies witnessed during the demonstrations.

In response, Odinga maintained the protests would continue until what he described as “thorns and depressions” on the political playing field are leveled out.

“How do we go into another election in denial. No, no reforms, no elections,” Odinga told his supporters in Mombasa on Sunday going on to list the reforms he feels would result in a free and fair repeat presidential poll.

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