After a message from Kenya’s President William Ruto urging opposition leader Raila Odinga to call off the weekly demonstrations, Odinga responded by announcing he had temporarily suspended the anti-government protests to attempt to reach a resolution.
“We acknowledge Mr. Ruto’s olive branch for dialogue on key issues raised by Azimio La Umoja to us this is a positive development,” Odinga said. “We stand down our demonstrations for Monday, April 3, 2023.”
To date, the protests have been violent. Ruto stated three people, including a police officer, died during the protests. More than 400 people sustained injuries and looting has been widespread.
“Our country has experienced grave acts of lawlessness, widespread violence, looting and invasion of private property by persons taking advantage of political demonstrations called by the opposition,” said the president.
Odinga says he has issued Ruto with their bare minimum demands and has just a week to respond.
The weekly demonstrations are to protest against the high cost of living and claim that the electoral body tampered with election results, despite the Supreme Court upholding the results. Odinga is demanding that the body give access to its computers. In his Sunday morning address, Ruto insisted August’s elections were free and fair. However, Odinga warned that the protests could return if their demands were not met.
“We want to emphasize that the right to assemble to demonstrate, petition and speak are ironclad as provided for in the constitution-therefore we reserve our right to call for demonstrations should these processes not bear fruit,” he declared.