Street faceoff: It’s back to square one in Ruto, Raila row

Azimio has notified the police of their planned demonstrations in Nairobi on Tuesday

In Summary
  • President William Ruto and opposition chief Raila Odinga are set for the second round of ugly street faceoff after revelations their talks have all but collapsed.
  • Yesterday, President Ruto gave the clearest indication that has not reached any agreement with Raila and dared the Azimio boss to try execute his ‘violent and destructive’ protests.
President William Ruto
President William Ruto
Image: PCS

President William Ruto and opposition chief Raila Odinga are set for the second round of ugly street faceoff after revelations that their talks have collapsed.

Yesterday, President Ruto gave the clearest indication that he has not struck any deal with Raila to avert the looming protests by the opposition.

The tough-talking President dared Raila and his Azimio brigade to try and execute his ‘violent and destructive’ protests.


“I am asking all leaders in Kenya, including our friends in the opposition, I want to tell you, we have agreed to talk, let’s now agree on how we can take Kenya forward,” Ruto said.

“But if you don’t want talks, I can’t allow any person for any reason to continue destroying Kenyans’ properties. That we cannot allow."

The President spoke at the time when the opposition has called for countrywide street protests to push the government to succumb to their demands.

Already, Azimio Coalition has notified the police of their planned demonstrations in Nairobi on Tuesday.

The letter written by the Coalition’s party chairman Wickliffe Oparanya said the protests will be held along the busy Moi Avenue within the Central Business District.

“In the course of the said meeting/procession, we intend to submit a written petition to Harambe House, Nairobi,” Azimio said in the letter dated April 24.

This came after Ruto and Raila's team in Parliament failed to agree and referred the matter to the two political nemeses to unlock the negotiations.

However, with the President talking tough and the opposition staying put on the street protests, it is clear the leaders have not reached any agreement.

Speaking in Ongata Rongai in Kajiado county, Ruto termed the Azimio demands nonsense and vowed to firmly deal with the opposition should they make good their threat to demonstrate.

“I understand they want to go to Nairobi CBD to destroy people’s property, to cause violence. I want to tell you, my friends, that will not happen,” he said.

“I am the President of Kenya. And if you want to continue mtajua hamjui (you will know you don’t know anything)."

The visibly agitated head of state declared that ‘enough is enough with the opposition’s blackmail and intimidation.’

“It is no longer possible for us to entertain people who want to destroy the property of others telling us nonsense about servers and other issues. It is not possible,” he said.

“Enough is enough. It can't happen again. It will not be possible again I want to tell them, that they should not think that because we have said we talk, then they think they will play with us. We don’t want any games."

Ruto spoke during the commissioning of the tarmacking of 65-Kilometre Ongata Rongai urban roads, Kajiado county.

On Tuesday, Raila and Ruto troops in the bipartisan talks suspended their negotiation indefinitely after they disagreed on the inclusion of two MPs to the committee, and sent back the issue to the two principals.

The two sides were unable to strike a deal on the inclusion of Eldas MP Adan Keynan and his Pokot South counterpart David Pkosing to the panel.

Azimio wants Keynan, a Jubilee lawmaker, removed from the dialogue team on grounds that he belongs to the opposition.

On their side, Kenya Kwanza is pushing for Pkosing’s exit after his party signed a post-election agreement with the ruling coalition.

“Until then, we have hit a stalemate and we have suspended these talks until such time we will have consensus or when positions change,” co-chair Otiende Amollo said.

On Friday, Ruto’s wing appeared to succumb to Azimio’s demands and agreed to recuse Keynan from the committee.

This even as they threatened to pull out of the talks if the opposition makes good their threat to go back to the streets.

“We cannot engage in both processes, one on the table and the other in the streets,” committee’s co-chair George Murugara told a press conference at Parliament Buildings.

The Tharaka MP said they are ready to remove Keynan from the committee if the issue they consider to be in conflict with him, will be part of terms of reference of formal negotiations.

“Equally, we call on them to show goodwill and if the terms of reference include an issue that will conflict with the inclusion of Pkosing, to equally be ready to release him,” Murugara demanded.

However, in a letter addressed to Murugara on Friday, Otiende maintains that the Azimio team remains unavailable for talks until Keynan is recused from the committee.

"As communicated in our meeting on April 23, 2023, our team is not available for any discussions until and unless there is a communication of withdrawal and/or replacement of Hon Adan Keynan as a member of the Kenya Kwanza team," Otiende said.

(Edited by Tabnacha O)

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