I'm ready to engage with any leader but in legal manner – Ruto

Says he will not bow to any form of threats or ultimatums.

In Summary
  • He however said he was not going to bow to any form of threats with ultimatums.
  • The Azimio call for mass action with protests, scheduled for Monday came after the lapse of a 14-day ultimatum to the government.
President William Ruto during a thanksgiving service in Nandi County on March 19,2023.
President William Ruto during a thanksgiving service in Nandi County on March 19,2023.
Image: PCS

President William Ruto has said he is ready to engage with any leader provided it's within the confines of the Constitution.

The President ruled out any chances of him bowing to pressure, threats or ultimatums by those who want to get what they want through unconstitutional means.

While speaking at a thanksgiving service at Kapsabet Showground in Nandi County on Sunday, Ruto said holding talks with ultimatums hanging over his head would amount to rewarding impunity, something he said he is not ready to do.

"I'm ready to engage with any leader if we are discussing the future of our country in a constitutional, legal manner. But I'm not going to engage in anarchy, you are not going to threaten us with ultimatums and chaos," the President said. 

His statement was directed at Azimio leader Raila Odinga who has called for mass action on Monday to mount pressure on the Kenya Kwanza administration to address Opposition grievances.

They range from lowering the cost of living, instituting electoral justice and reintroducing food and fuel subsidies.

Azimio has also called for an all-inclusive process of reconstituting the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission saying the selection panel is partisan.

The call for mass action came after the lapse of a 14-day ultimatum to the government to address the issues.

During an interview with the media on Saturday, Opposition chief Raila Odinga said they were going to take their protests wherever the President will be, so they can submit their petitions.

He said if Ruto will not be at his Harambee House office in the CBD, a delegation will be sent to State House to deliver the petition.

Ruto assured Kenyans that their rights were going to be protected during the demos saying he has directed the police to carry on with their mandate within the and remain apolitical. 

"Our police women and men are professional people. They are going to ensure that the right of everybody is protected," he said.

"The rights of those who want to protest and those who want to go about their lives uninterrupted."

Deputy President on his part warned Raila against setting foot anywhere near State House.

The DP said it's his mandate to ensure the president is protected against all manner of threats including those that may be posed by unauthorised entry to his official residence.

"Na mimi nimepanga, unajua yeye ni mtu ya kutumia njia ya kandokando. Pale ikulu nimeweka mitego kila mahali akionekana ananaswa," Gachaguia said.

(I have made arrangements as you know he likes shortcuts. I have put dragnets at State House, once he is spotted there he will be arrested)

Gachagua said Raila is trying to use mass action to force a handshake which the Kenya Kwanza administration will not accept under whatever circumstances.  

"Huyu mzee akitumia njia ya kando akuje aingie kwa handshake aharibu serikali yetu, mtu ya kuulizwa ni mimi," he said.

(If this old man uses his sideshows and manages to get a handshake, I will be the one to be asked)

Raila dismissed an earlier statement by police that banned the planned Monday protestes.

While speaking in Ongata Rongai, the Azimio leader said the demos are on and it's the mandate of the police to ensure lives and property are protected.

"Huo ni upuzi. The duty of the police is to protect the people. Not to license protests. They are only served with the notice and that's what the Constitution says,” he said.

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