Kenyan President William Ruto has called for the Western world to impose sanctions against his political rival leader Raila Odinga. Ruto accused Odinga of trying to destabilise the country and said that he should be held accountable for his actions. Ruto also said that he believes the international community should take action to prevent Odinga from causing further damage to Kenya.
The Kenya Kwanza administration has called on the West to impose sanctions against Odinga over his calls for mass action and rejection of his election win. This includes a travel ban against Odinga. The administration believes that Odinga’s actions are a threat to the stability of the country and that he is inciting violence. They are calling on the international community to take action in order to prevent further instability in Kenya.
Kenya’s ruling party wants the United States, the United Kingdom and other western countries to take action against opposition leader Raila Odinga, whom they accuse of destabilising the government.
Who Owns Africa understands that the lawmakers and politicians allied to the Kenya Kwanza administration said they want western countries to impose sanctions on Mr Odinga and his allies, and to investigate and prosecute them for allegedly violating Kenyan laws.
The lawmakers also accused Mr Odinga of colluding with foreign powers to overthrow the Kenyan government, and said they want the US and other western countries to cut off all financial and military support for him but Mr Odinga has denied all the allegations against him, and accused the government of attempting to intimidate and silence the opposition. He has called on the international community to pressure the Kenyan government to respect human rights and the rule of law.
The Kenyan government is seeking to ban opposition leader Raila Odinga from travelling to Western nations should he proceed with plans for mass protests aimed at forcing President William Ruto out of office. The move comes amid fears that such protests could lead to violence and unrest in the East African nation.
Similar travel and economic restrictions have in the past proved to be effective in softening political hardliners who fear losing access to their overseas investments and access to advanced healthcare. For instance, in 2017, the Kenyan government banned several opposition politicians from travelling outside the country after they claimed that the presidential election had been rigged. The ban was later lifted after the politicians agreed to participate in a new election.
Mr. Odinga has a long history of staging mass protests that have often crippled economic activity and led to loss of life. In the past, these protests have forced sitting governments into power-sharing negotiations, ceding ground to policy and legal reforms, as well as creating room for negotiated political solutions. However, it is unclear what Mr. Odinga’s motives are for staging these latest protests. Some believe that he is simply trying to make a point about the current state of the Kenyan government, while others believe that he is attempting to overthrow the government entirely. Whatever his motive, it is clear that Mr. Odinga is a force to be reckoned with and that his protests should not be taken lightly.
On Wednesday, Mr Odinga announced that he will lead mass protests in 14 days if the government does not honour the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition’s demands for changes in the formula for choosing Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) members and lowering the cost of living. The coalition is demanding that the government change the way IEBC members are chosen so that they are not appointed by the president, and that the cost of living is lowered to help Kenyans who are struggling to make ends meet. If the government does not meet these demands, Mr Odinga and the coalition will hold mass protests in 14 days time.
On Saturday, at a political rally in Kakamega, opposition leader Raila Odinga declared that the administration of President Ruto has 11 days left to accede to his demands. These demands stem from the disputed August 9 General Election, which was settled by the Supreme Court. Odinga has demanded that an independent commission be established to investigate alleged electoral irregularities, and that reforms be implemented to ensure that such irregularities do not occur in future elections. failure to do so, Odinga warned, would result in mass protests and civil disobedience.
The latest escalation of hostility between former President Uhuru Kenyatta and his former deputy, William Ruto, comes in a week when diplomatic sources indicated that Dr Ruto was behind the termination of the Azimio leader’s role at the African Union. It forms part of the larger scheme by the President to ‘politically contain’ the former premier. The move is likely to further inflame tensions between the two men, who have been at loggerheads since Dr Ruto was ousted from the government in February. The President is said to be concerned about the possibility of Mr Ruto mounting a challenge to his authority, and is said to be taking steps to ensure that he is politically sidelined.
In a recent speech, National Assembly Deputy Majority Leader Owen Baya warned that Kenyan politician Raila Odinga could lose the respect of the international community if he continued to cause civil unrest in the country. Baya pointed to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as an example of a once-respected democrat who lost favour with the international community after he began subverting democratic values. Baya warned that if Odinga does not change his ways, Kenya could face similar sanctions from the international community.
In an effort to maintain his grip on power, Dr Ruto has resorted to a number of methods to undermine his main challenger in the 2022 succession race, Mr Odinga. These include buying out his MPs, doling out government jobs to his fiercest critics in their strongholds, and instigating defections from Azimio. While these methods may provide some short-term relief, it is clear that Dr Ruto is in for a difficult battle if he hopes to retain control after the next election.
In recent days, there has been much speculation about whether or not Raila Odinga, Kenya’s opposition leader, intends to overthrow the government. In a recent interview, William Ruto, Kenya’s President, warned that if Mr. Odinga continues to undermine the current regime, he will ask that Mr. Odinga was withdrawn from his regional peace mission.
It is clear that Mr. Odinga does not support the current government. He has been critical of President Ruto and has called for his ouster on several occasions. However, it is unclear if Mr. Odinga actually intends to overthrow the government through violence or if he is simply trying to pressure the government into making changes. Either way, his actions are likely to have negative consequences for himself and for Kenya as a whole.
Nelson Koech, chairman of the Defence and Foreign Relations Committee, has warned that Mr Odinga’s international recognition stands to suffer greatly if he continues with his threats against Dr Ruto’s administration. He points out that the international community has a lot of interests in Kenya.
The Kenyan government has recently placed sanctions on individuals and organisations that it views as a threat to the country’s stability. In doing so, it is acting in pursuit of its national interests and in order to maintain a stable global order. The globalisation of markets and production means that the international community has a vested interest in Kenya’s political and economic stability. Those who attempt to cause instability in the global system will soon find themselves isolated and facing difficult challenges. As Mr. Koech warned, anyone who tries to upset the status quo will quickly find themselves in over their head.
President Ruto’s remarks come after former Prime Minister Raila Odinga refused to recognize the administration of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s deputy, William Ruto. Mr. Odinga’s decision has caused consternation among some of his allies, who see it as an act of self-interest.
President Ruto said that Mr. Odinga’s actions are “laughable” and that he risks being isolated by his allies. He added that Kenyans, as well as the country’s international partners and stakeholders, are shocked by Mr. Odinga’s attempts to undermine a democratically elected administration.
In a recent statement, Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei has accused opposition leader Raila Odinga of planning a mass action in order to incite the public against the current administration. Senator Cherargei holds that Mr Odinga should be denied the privileges he enjoys, both locally and internationally, for his alleged role in undermining the authority of the current administration.
In support of his claims, Senator Cherargei points to the fact that the international community typically bans individuals who sponsor civil strife against legitimate governments. Consequently, he argues that Mr Odinga should no longer be accorded the same privileges as he has previously been. Senator Charges statement is sure to add fuel to the already heated political climate in Kenya.
The Foreign and Diaspora Affairs CS Alfred Mutua said that there are no plans as of yet to have Mr Odinga banned from travelling to Western countries. He said that the government “has no time to engage Mr Odinga in his unending political theatrics”.
“We are not into witch-hunting. From where we stand, we are not interested in what he wants to do. If he wants to demonstrate, let him proceed,” said Dr Mutua.
Macharia Munene, a professor of history and international relations, said it is normal for governments to ask for sanctions against people they deem problematic. He, however, said such requests can either be rejected or accepted. “The government is always making these kinds of requests,” said Prof Munene.
Kenya’s opposition party leaders have said that they are not scared of western countries’ threats to THEIR planned mass protests. The leaders said that the protests are well within the Constitution and it would be surprising for the western countries to listen to such unfounded requests. One leader, Vihiga Senator Godfrey Osotsi, said “We’re not scared by those threats, as what we are doing is within the law. If Western countries can agree to those requests, then they will justify our fears that they rigged Kenya Kwanza into power.”
Jubilee Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni said that the threats by the government will not stop them from pursuing electoral justice. Kioni stated that “they tried to blackmail Uhuru with the issue of retirement benefits and it did not work. They also came with the imaginary tax evasion issue that also did not work.” In Parliament, Azimio is gearing up to cause drama on Tuesday on the floor of the House to protest what he calls ‘state capture’ of Parliament by the Executive. Minority Whip Junet Mohamed said that the plan is to disrupt House business on Tuesday.
The move by the Azimio coalition to interfere in the management of parliamentary affairs for the Kenya Kwanza side is occasioned by a plan to make changes in various committees. The minority side had hoped to change the committee make-up to be more advantageous for themselves, but a hot debate ensued at a Wednesday meeting of the selection committee chaired by Majority leader Kimani Ichung’wa. The plan was thwarted, and now the Azimio coalition is up in arms, claiming interference from the Kenya Kwanza side.
Kenya Kwanza, the whip for the minority party in Kenya’s parliament, accused Richard Wandayi and Abdulswamad Mohammed of attempting to push through an agenda item that would punish members of the minority party, calling it a “sneak attack.” This item was not on the list of business to be discussed at the meeting, leading Kwanza to accuse Wandayi and Mohammed of attempting to unilaterally push through the agenda item.
The strained relationship between the two coalitions in parliament spilled over on the floor of the house on Thursday, when Ichungwa and Mohammed had a bitter exchange over the planned changes. Mohammed said that if the minority party leadership couldn’t effect changes.
Mr Mohammed has denied that the changes to committee memberships are aimed at punishing anyone. He says that the minority just wanted to ‘rationalise’ their committee memberships.
“We were not punishing anyone but just re-organising committees so that they can become more effective,” Mr Mohammed said. “If you want to punish anyone, you de-whip them but this one we just wanted to ensure that members who have four committees can only serve in two in order to serve effectively but we were denied that chance.”
Mr Ichungwa admitted that there was a list from the minority side, but denied any interference from the majority side in effecting the changes. “I have no business running the minority side,” he said. “It is no secret that the Azimio coalition was not for the willing but a coalition through coercion.”
Mr Ichungwa added that he had always implored the minority to engage and review the work of members in committees, rather than doing changes in a very sectarian manner and in an underhand manner through sneaking lists in the clerks’ office.
The Kikuyu lawmaker, however, maintained that he will protect the rights of any MP from any coalition that is being infringed by the leadership. Mr. Ichungwa said that he believes in engaging, consensus building, and arriving at fair results. He went on to say that he wants to treat any member from the minority or from any party, whether Jubilee or ODM, as a member of parliament. When he feels a member’s right is being infringed on, he will stand up and be counted to protect him to be a member of any committee.
Sarah Korere, the Laikipia North MP, has sternly told the Azimio leadership that they will not be forced to join Kenya Kwanza. Ms. Korere made it clear that the Azimio coalition will not have to go through the process of asking for permission to see the President; something that is currently required protocol. According to Ms. Korere, Kenya only has one President. Despite publicly announcing their intention to work with President Ruto, Ms. Korere and Eldas MP Adan Keynan still sit in the powerful House Business Committee (HBC) as representatives of the Azimio side.
Nation Africa contributed to this report