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Expect three days of protests next week, Senator Sifuna tells Kenya Kwanza

Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna has said the opposition will step up anti-government protests next week. Speaking on Thursday, the legislator said the Kenya Kwanza government will have to listen to Kenyans before the protests end.

The Senator said Azimio la Umoja – One Kenya Coalition’s decision was influenced by what he called the failure of the Kenya Kwanza administration to listen to Kenyans.

“Kenya Kwanza cannot order the arrest of Raila Odinga. From next week, we will have three days straight of protests from Monday to Wednesday until President Ruto listens to Kenyans,” Sifuna said on Citizen TV.

On Wednesday, demonstrators poured to the streets to protest over the high cost of living and the Finance Act, 2023.

Mobs of protesters across the country disobeyed a police directive not to venture out into the streets. The violent protest led to the death of seven people, including four in Mlolongo, two in Kitengela, and one in Emali in Makueni County. Many more were injured.

Also read: Police begin hunting down Azimio demonstrators

The ODM Secretary General said Kenyans are angry because the government has imposed high taxation despite the harsh economic times.

However, Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga was forced to cancel a planned rally at Kamukunji grounds on Wednesday afternoon, citing intelligence reports that armed pro-government thugs would shoot at attendees.

A protestors barricade a road with burning tyres during the anti-government protests in Shabab estate, Nakuru City on July 12, 2023. PHOTO | BONIFACE MWANGI

Addressing journalists at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation (JOOF) in Nairobi, Mr Odinga, who described the nationwide protests as a success despite police brutality, alleged an elaborate plot by Kenya Kwanza to attack innocent Kenyans at the Kamukunji grounds.

“Late last night (Tuesday), we received intelligence of a most heinous plan by Kenya Kwanza to ferry armed goons who would attack peaceful attendees of our rally in Kamkunji. These goons had express orders to shoot directly into the crowd while enjoying police protection,” Mr Odinga told reporters.

Also read: Maandamano aftermath: Businesses count losses after Azimio protests

The opposition chief said the protests will not end until the government addresses the real issues affecting Kenyans. Mr Odinga said the protests will continue until Ruto looks into the contested Finance Act, 2023.

“There is no moving on until Ruto comes out and openly repeals the Finance Act, 2023 and issues other measures to lower cost of living,” he said.

Up to 10 counties took part in the protests for the better part of Wednesday, with  clouds of smoke punctuated the atmosphere, from bonfires lit by protesters and teargas canisters lobbed by the police.

Business activities in the Nairobi Central Business District were disrupted with many shops closed for fear of looting and destruction of property by the protesters.

Also read: Raila sticks to tried and tested script in his push to ‘oust’ Ruto