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Azimio headache over recognition of Ruto as president

By Mercy Simiyu September 3rd, 2023 2 min read

Has the opposition’s Azimio la Umoja coalition resolved to recognize William Ruto as the duly elected President of the Republic of Kenya?

Kalonzo Musyoka, a co-principal in the coalition, says yes.

Mr Musyoka, a former vice-president who contested as Raila Odinga’s running mate in the 2013 and 2017 presidential elections, shared the stance amid the ongoing talks between the government and opposition dubbed National Dialogue.

He said: “We congratulate the President for putting his foot down and supporting the continuation of the talks. Because of his (Ruto’s) stand, we recognize him and we will wait for the next time because who knows? God’s plans may be with us.”

Mr Musyoka is a co-chair at the National Dialogue, alongside National Assembly Majority leader Kimani Ichungwa.

But then, Martha Karua, who succeded Kalonzo as Mr Odinga’s running mate in the 2022 polls, suggests otherwise.

In a post on social media channel X, formerly Twitter. She said.

The debate on whether or not to recognize President Ruto was initiated by Mr Odinga in 2023 during a political address at Kamukunji grounds in Nairobi.

He said: “We do not recognize the Kenya Kwanza administration as a legitimate government and Ruto as the President. We also do not recognize any official in his government.”

Mr Odinga’s sentiments were reportedly influenced by the opinion of a whistle-blower, who has so far remained anonymous, who claimed the results of the 2022 presidential elections were tampered with.

President Ruto was declared the winner of the polls. His win was later validated after a case Mr Odinga filed at the Supreme Court challenging that outcome was thrown out, with Chief Justice at some point referring to the evidence as ‘hot air’ and a ‘wild goose chase.’

Despite the ruling, Azimio has consistently called for an audit of the election and specifically the opening of servers. The stand-off eventually led to anti-government demonstrations led by Mr Odinga, in which scores of people lost their lives, and hundreds of others were injured or arrested, with property worth millions of shillings destroyed.

President Ruto and Mr Odinga have since resolved to have their differences addressed through the National Dialogue.

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