Kenyan Opposition leader Raila Odinga. Source: PD-People Daily - Photo: 2023

Kenyan Opposition Leader Urged to Suspend Rallies

By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network

NEW YORK | NAIROBI, 3 April 2023 (IDN) — Kenya’s opposition leader, Raila Odinga, is not going away quietly.

Defeated in national elections last August, the 78-year-old opposition leader is now leading street protests in Nairobi neighbourhoods, drawing thousands of followers who face growing poverty, surging living costs, joblessness, and police brutality.

Odinga and his party, Azimio la Umoja–One Kenya Coalition, have been calling for the resignation of President Ruto saying he wasn’t validly elected in last year’s poll. As his convoy came under a barrage of tear gas and water cannons shot by police, marchers shouted “Ruto must go” in reference to William Ruto, the new president who got his start under hardliner Daniel arap Moi.

Amnesty Kenya and the Kenya Human Rights Commission have criticized police violence while the African Union has called for calm and dialogue. Four protesters were reported to have been killed since the marches began last week.

Violence also erupted in two Nairobi slums which have long been Odinga bastions and at his gas cylinder manufacturing firm. Property owned by former president Uhuru Kenyatta was set on fire as seen on footage from Citizen TV.

While Ruto did not get a visit from Vice President Kamala Harris during her recent Africa tour, he was feted by other American visitors including U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del) and U.S. investors at a meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce in Nairobi.

President Ruto was among the keynote speakers at the Chamber’s summit even as the Biden administration complained that corruption and a lack of a transparent tax policy were discouraging corporate interest in Kenya.

Ruto also met with US ambassador Meg Whitman, a high-powered business executive named in the Forbes list of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the World.

Meanwhile, former President Barack Obama is said to be settling in Kenya for at least a year as Special Envoy for US Diplomacy, a deployment which he said, “makes me truly grateful as I pay tribute to the land of my father and forefathers”.

Obama is expected to jet into the country on June 13 to set up an office outside Nairobi where he plans to shoot his much-anticipated documentary “In The Land of My Father”, enlisting, in part, Morgan Freeman and Sir David Attenborough for the narration. [IDN-InDepthNews]

Kenyan Opposition leader Raila Odinga. Source: PD-People Daily

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