Looming massive push back

Ruto dilemma as Raila plots mass action

Will the opposition chief push the president to another handshake?

In Summary
  • Ruto has often claimed that he will not entertain any thought for another handshake.
  • Raila's Azimio has started rolling out a strategy that could take their supporters to the streets.
Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Azimio leader Raila Odinga and Prof Makau Mutua at Parliament Buildings on Thursday, November 24, 2022.
BATTLE LINES: Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Azimio leader Raila Odinga and Prof Makau Mutua at Parliament Buildings on Thursday, November 24, 2022.



President William Ruto could find himself in the horns of a dilemma after opposition chief Raila Odinga tipped the country for mass action.


If Raila makes good his threat to start a major push back against Ruto's government, there are fears of a return to the post-2017 standoff.

The ongoing process to kick out the four IEBC commissioners who disowned the August 9 presidential results, could be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

"The injustice being inflicted on the four commissioners, if it proceeds as currently conceived, will mark the beginning of a massive push back against Ruto and those who think like him," Raila said.

Raila has insisted that Azimio would explore every avenue to stop the removal of the four commissioners, including calling for mass action.

The President has vowed to have the commissioners-Juliana Cherera, Justus Chang'aya, Irene Masit and Wanderi Kamau- punished for trying to subvert the will of the people.

In 2017, Raila's then Nasa coalition escalated street protests against President Uhuru Kenyatta's government, and in which Ruto served as deputy.

Raila and his Nasa brigade had claimed that they did not recognise Uhuru as president especially after he mobilised his strongholds to boycott the repeat election.

It was until March 2018, that both Raila and Uhuru shook hands on the footsteps of the Harambee House office of the President to simbolise an end to the street protests.

Ruto has claimed that he will not entertain any push towards another handshake saying he will need a strong opposition to keep his government in check.

However, Raila appears to plotting a strategy to counter Ruto in the coming months after Ruto's 100 days in office are over.

On Friday, Raila's meeting with Azimio elected governors and their deputies in Naivasha resolved to build momentum for a grand resistance against Ruto's policies.

"We shall hold reflections and consultations with Kenyans on the required resistance and struggle to protect our democracy," the meeting resolved.

In the resolutions read by Kisumu governor Anyang' Nyong'o, Azimio warned that they will not relent in the face of what they termed as the emergence of authoritarianism.

"We shall not allow the re-establishment of authoritarian rule and the violations of human rights," Azimio said.

The Star has established that inside Azimio's plan to keep Ruto's government in check are street protests.

Sources who attended the meeting said the coalition is building momentum to counter President Ruto's 'vengeful and undemocratic" tendencies.

"There is a general feeling that Ruto is consolidating more power and is likely to return us back to Nyayo era dictatorship. We have agreed that we shall not sit back and watch. We are laying ground for our push back," said a governor who attended the meeting.

Part of the Raila plan to counter Ruto is to keep Azimio united from the top brass to the grassroots with governors expected to take charge at the bottom level.

Governors will be required to occasionally address the media on issues of national interest as well as explain to the people at the grassroots on what Azimio is doing to protect them from government excesses.

There will also be a few countrywide people's engagement forums where top Azimio leaders will address their supporters as part of plans to hold the government in check.

"Even Daniel Moi's regime, at its most dictatorial phase was resisted and stopped in its tracks. Ultimately we shall deploy all possible means," said National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi.

Ruto has already fired salvos at Raila accusing him of being part of the "Lords of impunity' who destroyed oversight institutions through the handshake.

"They should allow Parliament to hold to account rogue officials who put the nation in danger by subverting the democratic will of the people," Ruto twitted on Friday.

In a nasty spat, Raila hit back telling the President to allow the law to prevail and not "his jungle".


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