Government seeks foreign sanctions against Raila over demos

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has written to the international community over mass action.

In Summary
  • The Kenya Kwanza government wants the foreign powers to sanction Raila and Azimio leaders over attempts to oust Ruto.
  • Raila has previously laughed off travel bans by the West, saying the foreign nations should keep off local matters.
Azimio leader Raila Odinga on Saturday, March 5, 2022.
Azimio leader Raila Odinga on Saturday, March 5, 2022.
Image: FILE

President William Ruto’s administration has written to foreign powers asking them to impose sanctions-including travel bans on Azimio leaders over mass action and rejection of his election win.


In a detailed letter from Alfred Mutua's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the government accuses Azimio leader Raila Odinga of planning to topple President William Ruto.


The ministry says that Raila's mass action on Monday was meant to oust Ruto as the constitutionally elected President and “cause to install himself as President”.

The government holds that Raila's call for nationwide protests when the new Government is barely six months in office and working hard to revive the economy, is insensitive.

Particularly, the letter says, Raila's encouragement of protesters to storm State installations, including the country's seat of the president, State House, is outright callous and even treasonous.

“In line with the importance of holding those responsible for any crimes that may be committed under the guise of protests and ensuring no impunity is encouraged, the Government urges the international community to be vigilant in supporting the sanctioning of any conduct adverse to the peace and security of the country,” the government said.

The letter dated March 20, 2023 is addressed to all Diplomatic Missions, the United Nations Agencies and all International Organizations based in Nairobi.

Similar travel and economic restrictions have in the past proved to be effective in softening political hardliners who fear losing access to their overseas investments and access to advanced healthcare.


Raila on Monday staged mass protests that paralysed businesses in Nairobi and Kisumu counties and has called for more demonstrations twice a week to ostensibly push the government to lower the cost of living.

According to the letter, security officers prevented the demonstrators from accessing the Central Business District and State House, due to the egregious and highly provocative nature of the demonstrations.

The government said that the organisers failed to furnish a notification containing specific details about the protest to the police.

“Despite the restraint by police, some of the protesters destroyed and looted property whose value will be determined in the days ahead,” the government said in the letter.

Azimio had claimed they notified the police whom they alleged, instead of protecting protesters, turned against them with tear gas and water cannons.

According to the government, the protests and destruction of property are a continuation of the, “Raila's well-known modus operandi deployed since 1997, to force extra-constitutional political settlements for his own self-aggrandizement.”

“The Ministry wishes to recall that Kenya conducted an open, democratic election on 9th August, 2022, and H.E. Hon. William Samoei Ruto won the election. Subsequently, election-related issues raised by Mr Odinga were litigated upon before the country's Supreme Court that upheld the president's victory, paving way to the swearing in on 13th September 2022,' the letter reads.

On Raila's demands on the cost of living, the government said that almost all countries in the world, Africa in particular, suffered economic shocks occasioned by the COVID 19 pandemic and exacerbated by the Russia-Ukrainian war.

“ Kenya, like many countries on the continent is still struggling to recover, a fact made more onerous by the most debilitating drought in decades. The government is thus addressing a legitimate problem of high cost of living witnessed In the entire globe,” the government said.

Raila has previously laughed off travel bans by the West saying the foreign nations should keep off local matters and allow Kenyans to find solutions to their own challenges.

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