Opposition leader Raila Odinga has modified his approach to anti-government protests, announcing that he will not encourage his supporters to take to the streets in future demonstrations. Speaking in Siaya County, Raila, the leader of the Azimio la Umoja movement, conveyed his intention to request his followers to stay indoors as a method of protesting against the current Kenya Kwanza regime. The rationale behind this shift is to prevent police violence and fatalities that have often occurred during protests.
Raila asserted, “We will not be intimidated by this behavior; there’s no need to mobilize people to occupy the streets. We can advise them to remain at home as an alternative way to express their discontent. In fact, in our upcoming actions, rather than urging people to participate in street protests, we will urge them to stay within the confines of their homes and refrain from going outside.”
These statements emerged after Raila decided to halt ongoing protests in order to explore the possibility of dialogue with President William Ruto’s team. The dialogue is slated to officially begin next week at the Bomas of Kenya, following a preliminary meeting held on Wednesday. Nonetheless, Raila has issued a thirty-day ultimatum to the government to address Azimio’s demands during these bipartisan talks.
Raila emphasized, “Our engagement with them is without preconditions, and we expect the same from them. If they are unwilling to engage constructively and reach agreements that align with our aspirations, we want to make it clear that after a period of thirty days, Kenyan citizens will take alternative measures.”
The announcement comes in the wake of allegations that Raila’s side employed deceased individuals during past demonstrations, which he addressed last week. This strategic shift reflects Raila’s aim to minimize confrontations with law enforcement and maintain a peaceful approach to advocating for change.