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We will Meet You Head On ,Ruto Warns Raila On Demos.

We will Meet You Head On ,Ruto Warns Raila On Demos.

 

 

President William Ruto yesterday maintained a tough stance over plans by the Opposition to hold mass protests today, vowing not to allow the demonstrations, even as calls for restraint dominated the 58th Labour Day celebrations.

The President dared Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party leaders to go ahead with their plans, saying, they will be met with a government that is ready to protect the lives, properties and businesses of Kenyans.

This, even as Azimio leader Raila Odinga insisted that the protest rallies will be peaceful and no properties will be destroyed. He said they will present petitions to the Independent Boundaries and Electoral Commission (IEBC), National Treasury and the Office of the President.

In a no holds barred speech, the President said he would not bow to pressure from leaders who want to force him to “share the government”. He said he had agreed to bi-partisan talks in Parliament with Azimio leaders.

We also know what democracy looks like and what human rights are. It has nothing to do with violence, anarchy, destruction of properties and people’s businesses,” said Dr Ruto.

His uncompromising stance was a far cry from the tone he had assumed when he took to the lectern at 1.15pm at a ground where he was humiliated by his predecessor, former President Uhuru Kenyatta, last June during Madaraka Day celebrations by being snubbed.

He had extended an olive branch to the workers rallying them to work closely with his administration for the betterment of the country. He said no Kenyan will be discriminated against on the basis of how they voted.

“Let’s work together and deliver to Kenyans, saying bygones be bygones. I don’t have problems with you even though most of you opposed me in the elections,” said Dr Ruto.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua accused Azimio leaders of insincerity, saying, they had been given a chance for dialogue through the bi-partisan talks but had chosen to go to the streets.

“The President has done everything possible to reach out and to encourage dialogue. Now asking the President to look the other way as people destroy properties is asking him to violate the Constitution he swore to protect,” said the DP.

He asked the Azimio leaders to accept that elections are over and Dr Ruto is President.

Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi said the country has no time for unnecessary disruptions to the economy. He called for unity for the economic stability of the country.

“The federation of employers and workers’ unions should come out strongly to speak against the disruptions,” he said.

Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary-General Francis Atwoli called for dialogue between President Ruto and Mr Odinga to end tensions in the country.

“We recognise you as Kenya’s president. You now must reach out to other leaders and reduce tensions. Reach out to your rivals to avoid maandamano [demonstrations],” he said.

He said Kenya needs political stability to attract investors.

“We in Azimio used to call Raila the fifth but we underestimated [you]. We must now support you. Let us accept we lost,” he said.

Castigating the Azimio protests, the Cotu boss said going to the streets would not change the outcome of the elections.

“What is the end game of maandamano? Raila has done a lot of things for this country and let him not be pushed to the brink by those selfish leaders who are only fighting for themselves,” Mr Atwoli said.

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja also called for restraint as he asked Mr Odinga to emulate what his late father Jaramogi Oginga and Tom Mboya did in the colonial days to preach peace in Nairobi and ensure Kenyans are not divided along tribal lines.

“Jaramogi and Mboya made sure that peace prevailed in Nairobi even when the colonial government killed Luo leaders to blame it on Mau Mau in order to stir animosity and division in the city along tribal lines,” he said.

Even the clergy could not resist dabbling in politics, with Archbishop Arthur Kitonga of the Redeemed Gospel Church using his prayer slot to throw jibes at Mr Odinga. Singing the President’s praises, Archbishop Kitonga said Dr Ruto has transformed the country in the few months he had been in power and would do more if given time.

“We pray for Honourable Raila to retire peacefully, the time you have now is to enjoy your retirement,” he said.

“He (Raila) should drop this issue of going to the streets. He should rest. God has given President Ruto the job of leading the nation, we do not want disputes,” he prayed.

Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops chairperson Archbishop Martin Kivuva of Mombasa Archdiocese expressed his disapproval of the “destructive demonstrations” and advocated for dialogue, saying, it was the only way of resolving the country’s political challenges.

“We encourage all parties and citizens to refrain from destructive demonstrations and instead commit themselves to the path of dialogue as the only civil way of resolving political and social issues affecting our country in order to have a reconciled and inclusive nation,” he said.

Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims Coast chairman Muhdhar Khatarmy Sharif said protests will only disrupt the peace and further affect the economy

An alternative] solution must be found to fix this situation, instead of hurting people during mas protests,” he said

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