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How Raila’s Azimio pulled off ‘devolved’ maandamano across the country

Azimio la Umoja – One Kenya Coalition pulled off a major score against the government on Wednesday with escalated protests which paralysed business activities across the country.

Unlike the previous demonstrations, which were mainly widespread in Nairobi, Kisumu, Homa Bay and Migori counties, this time round Azimio seemed to have changed their strategy.

Ahead of Wednesday’s planned D-Day of protests, Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga mobilised his supporters to join the demonstration from their respective counties.

Also read: Raila cancels Kamukunji grounds rally on a day of widespread protests

Previously, Mr Odinga, Martha Karua and other party leaders joined the protests in Nairobi, addressing their supporters in Kamukunji area, Kibra, Kawangware and Mathare, which have been the epicenter of the demonstrations.

Wednesday’s demonstrations rocked a number of major towns that had been peaceful in previous protests. Skirmishes also broke out in Nakuru County, which is largely voted for President William Ruto in last year’s General Election.

Bonfire on a barricaded Mombasa-Nairobi highway at Emali Township in July 12, 2023. PHOTO | PIUS MAUNDU

Anti-riot police officer clashed with protesters in Nakuru during the morning hours, paralysing businesses in the town.

Machakos County, which has also been calm in previous protests, witnessed ugly scenes as protesters took to the streets and destroyed part of the Nairobi Expressway in Mlolongo area. The situation was the same in Kisii town as protesters engaged the police in running battles.

Also read: Azimio demos rock Gachagua’s backyard

Kirinyaga County, from where Ms Karua hails, was also rocked with similar protests. In Nyeri County, where the Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua comes from, things were not different as a section of residents heeded Azimio’s call.

Chaotic scenes were also reported in a section of Mombasa town and Kilifi County as locals barricaded the roads in demand of resignation of President Ruto.

The charred shell of a police vehicle that was set ablaze by protesters at Mlolongo along Mombasa Road on July 12, 2023. PHOTO | WILFRED NYANGARESI

The Azimio Executive Committee chairperson Mr Wycliffe Opayanya and Roots Party leader Prof George Wajackoyah led the demonstrations in Kakamega County.

In Meru County, efforts by Ms Karua, former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya and former Jubilee Party Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni to lead the protests were foiled by the policey.

Also read: Eric Omondi expresses interest in teaming up Raila in Azimio street demos

The major rally which was expected to take place in Kamukunji Grounds in Nairobi was cancelled by the Azimio leader, who cited a scheme to have hired goons unleashed on them.

However, Mr Odinga said reiterated that there will be no turning back until President Ruto cedes to their demands.

A man lights up tyres on the road in Nyeri town to protest over the high cost of living in the country on July 12, 2023. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI