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Political deadlock: President Ruto talks tough as Azimio escalates protests

President William Ruto has warned Azimio la Umoja – One Kenya Coalition over the ongoing anti-government protests, maintaining that his government is not ready for handshake.

Speaking on Wednesday in Kericho County during the commissioning of the Sh1.2 billion Duka Moja and Kimugu water projects, President Ruto said it’s only the people of Kenya who can decide who will be in power.

“I don’t have a problem talking to anybody if their agenda is for the people. But concerning handshakes and power sharing, it’s the people of Kenya who decided, which they did last year in August,” the President said.

“Beating sufuria and putting them on your head will not lower the cost of living. Those people are disrupting our government because they don’t want the country to move on. We are also not ready for a handshake just as the people of Kericho have said,” he said.

Also read: Raila orders his troops to retreat after ‘successful’ day one protests

The Head of State also said using youth to cause chaos in the country is not a solution, noting that the handshake and power sharing deal between retired President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga is what destroyed the country’s economy.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua said the government is committed to protecting the property of all Kenyans from rioters.

“They will not get anything. I am strong and nobody will be allowed to destroy people’s properties,” Gachagua said.

Also read: Activist who asked Raila to import firearms and invade State House charged

Their sentiment comes on a day chaos and violence was witnessed in various parts of the country as opposition supporters clashed with police officers.

Azimio has said their planned three-day anti-government protests across the country aimed at forcing the President Ruto’s government to lower the cost of living in the country and also to repeal the controversial Finance Act 2023 that the head of state signed into law on June 26, 2023.

Among the key clauses in the Finance Act 2023 was a 16 per cent VAT on fuel products, up from 8 per cent.

The contentious Housing Levy, which had initially been proposed to be at 3 per cent, was also passed after it was amended to 1.5 per cent of gross pay after it was converted into a tax.

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