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Ruto: I will stop maandamano, just the same way I stopped reggae

President William Ruto has said his government will put to an end protests by Azimio la Umoja – One Kenya Coalition that have rocked the country in recent weeks.

Speaking in Lamu on Thursday during the official opening of the Lamu County Commissioner’s Office in Mokowe, the Head of State said the government will not allow destruction of properties by protesters.

“The same way we prayed and God stopped reggae, is the same way maandamano will stop. We will not allow destruction of properties,” President Ruto said in reference to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) which was spearheaded by his predecessor Mr Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga before last year’s General Election.

At the same time, the President Ruto yet again defended the National Police Service which has come under heavy criticism over alleged use of excessive to suppress the protests. The Head of State said anyone who attacks police officers is guilty of attacking the Republic of Kenya.

Also read: Edwin Sifuna – We have taken a break, but maandamano will be back soon

“Attacking the police is like attacking the constitution of our country. It also shows that you are attacking the rule of law and that is a no go zone,” President Ruto said, while commending the police for protecting lives and properties of Kenyans during the protests.

“We have several police officers who are hospitalized because of various injuries they sustained during the demos. The police were injured and others even sustained gunshot wounds as they protect the properties of Kenyans. The police have to be protected and it is not negotiable. They work hard to protect lives and properties and that is something we have to respect,” he said.

The President also faulted the opposition for painting a bad picture of the country by staging violent protests.

His sentiments come at a time when the opposition, led by Mr Odinga, has been condemning police brutality during protests.

Also read: Raila leads Azimio supporters in honouring victims of police brutality

Since March, Odinga’s Azimio coalition has staged nine days of street protests against President Ruto’s government, with the rallies sometimes degenerating into looting and deadly clashes between security forces and demonstrators.

One Wednesday Mr Odinga led his supporters in holding vigils across the country in remembrance of Kenyans who lost their lives at the hands of police officers during the recent anti-government protests.

Meanwhile, Azimio la Umoja will on Friday hold an interdenominational prayer service in Nairobi to seek divine intervention in the current political stalemate in the country.

Speaking on Wednesday at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation in Nairobi, Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka said similar prayer services will be held in other counties across the country.

“We will pray for the Pharaohs in government to listen to the cries of our people about the high taxes and the rising cost of living,” Mr Musyoka said.

Also read: Post-maandamano strategy: Azimio now turns to God to soften Pharaoh’s heart