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#SabaSaba: Raila Odinga slams Ruto over ‘poaching’ of opposition MPs

Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga rally at Kamukunji Grounds, Nairobi, on Friday, July 7, 2023, was brought to a standstill after police stormed it and started dispersing his followers.

A contingent of police officers deployed in the area lobbed teargas canisters at Mr Odinga’s convoy.

However, the opposition leader had already made his address, reiterating his cause of “pushing the government to lower down the skyrocketing cost of living”.

“We gave them (the Kenya Kwanza government led by President William Ruto) a chance for discussion, but they did not see the need to address the plights facing Kenyans. We are therefore forced to go back in the streets,” Mr Odinga told his followers at Kamukunji Grounds.

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The opposition leader lamented that Dr Ruto has shown that he does not respect the Constitution of Kenya by poaching MPs elected on the ticket of Azimio allied parties.

“We have lost 7 Azimio allied MPs to William Ruto, he should stop poaching our MPs for his personal interest,” Mr Odinga said.

In February 2023, some Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) MPs met with President William Ruto at State House in a move that did not go down well with the party leader.

The MPs include Gideon Ochanda (Bondo), Elisha Odhiambo (Gem), Mark Nyamita (Uriri), Caroli Omondi (Suba South), Shakeel Shabir (Kisumu East), Felix Odiwuor popularly known as Jalang’o (Lang’ata), Paul Abuor (Rongo), John Owino (Awendo) and Kisumu Senator Tom Ojienda.

But Dr Ruto’s allies defended the visit, saying they were discussing matters of unity and development.

“It is wrong and unlawful for Azimio MPS to be lobbied to join a government that is not fit to be in office,” Mr Odinga said.

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President Ruto’s plot is interpreted as a plan to strengthen his government, especially by having numbers to pass government-sponsored motions and agendas in the National and Senate Assemblies.

The two political factions, Kenya Kwanza, led by Dr Ruto, and Azimio, led by Mr Odinga, tested each other’s supremacy in Parliament during the debate on the Finance Bill 2023.

Kenya Kwanza lawmakers largely passed the controversial bill, and later signed into law by the President.

Mr Odinga insisted that he is pushing for a sustainable cost of living for all Kenyans as it has become unbearable, especially after the passage of the Finance Bill 2023.

Shortly after he made his speech and introduced some of the Azimio leaders and politicians who accompanied him, police started lobbying tear gas canisters.

“Police, please do not provoke us. We are holding peaceful demonstrations,” the protesters claimed.

After the police disrupted the protests, the demonstrators chanted songs discrediting the current Kenya Kwanza government.

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