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Roadblocks mounted around State House in anticipation of Raila protests

Police roadblocks have been mounted on roads leading to State House in Nairobi and the State Lodge in Kisumu ahead of a planned protests by supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga.

In Nairobi, there was a heavy presence of police officers near State House Road, State House Avenue and Processional Way as well as some parts of Dennis Pritt.

Heavily armed police officers are inspecting all vehicles using the roads and questioning motorists. The barricades were mounted as early as 6am with motorcyclists not allowed to use the roads.

In Kisumu, the road leading to the State Lodge in Milimani have similarly been barricaded.

The move comes with the said protests by Mr Odinga’s fans looming large as the lapse of his 14-day ultimatum to government drawing nearer.

Also read: Raila’s nationwide protests looming large

On Saturday, Mr Odinga announced a change of tact that will see demonstrations being held simultaneously across the country.

While attending the burial of Luo Council of Elders Chairman Opiyo Otandi, Mr Odinga said the responsibility for mobilising mass rallies had been taken away from Azimio’s top brass.

ODM county officials have been tasked with mobilising Kenyans ahead of Mr Odinga’s big announcement on Thursday, March 9.

A roadblock on a road leading State House, Nairobi on March 8, 2023. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

On Wednesday, while speaking at Parliament Buildings in Nairobi, Mr Odinga plans for the mass action remain on course.

“We want you to wait for the time. The deadline is on Wednesday at midnight, so you will hear from us on Thursday,” he said.

Mr Odinga issued the ultimatum last month with demands for the government to address the rising cost of living, electoral injustice and skewed sharing of state jobs, failure to which he would mobilise his supports to go to the streets.

Also read: Is Fred Matiang’i now a marked man?

“If the government fails to address these demands we will take action,” Mr Odinga said during a prayer meeting at Jeevanjee Gardens in Nairobi.

The opening of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) servers was also another demand Mr Odinga has made.

President Ruto, on his part, has accused the opposition leader of attempting to blackmail his government to derail his development agenda.

The road leading to Kisumu State Lodge on March 8, 2023. PHOTO | VICTOR RABALLA

President Ruto has further accused Mr Odinga and retired president Uhuru Kenyatta of weakening the economy after a political handshake in 2018.

“Let them engage in mass action until they are tired. You will not threaten anybody in this government. You left us with a huge debt,” the president said.

Mr Odinga has refused to concede defeat since the Supreme Court ruling on the August 9 election that saw President Ruto declared the winner.

Also read: Raila denied entry at DCI headquarters to visit Matiang’i