Stop the blackmail – Ruto hits out at Raila over planned Kamukunji rally
President William Ruto has criticized the opposition over a planned rally in Kamukunji, Nairobi, to protest alleged electoral malpractice.
Azimio la Umoja - One Kenya coalition leader Raila Odinga is set to address a public rally at the iconic Kamukunji grounds on Monday, January 23, upon his return from South Africa.
But speaking during a church service at Kerugoya Stadium in Kirinyaga county on Sunday, President Ruto termed the rally as an attempt by the opposition to blackmail the Kenya Kwanza administration into dancing to the opposition's tune.
The Head of State, however, said he won't allow the country to be held hostage by a few selfish leaders, insisting that his government is committed to delivering on its promises to the people.
"Don't be afraid. I will not allow a few people to blackmail and threaten us so that we get distracted from the promises which we're to give our people. Our focus won't be swayed to serve their interests. We are telling them no more," Ruto stated.
"You can plan demonstrations all you want but Kenya will move forward. I want to assure the citizens of our great country that this country will never again be a hostage to blackmail of a few people chasing personal selfish interests at the expense of millions of Kenya in the republic of Kenya."
Ruto said the Kenya Kwanza administration will roll out development projects including housing and agro-processing in all parts of the country irrespective of how residents voted in the last general election.
"We will unite our citizens irrespective of how they voted in the last election so that we can put to shame those who have the habit of using blackmail and threats to secure their personal family interests at the expense of millions of Kenyans," he said, adding that his administration is focused on creating employment for the youth and investing in farmers to ensure there is food security in the country.
"We told them they can never hold this country, hostage, again and we will not allow them."
Ruto said the opposition should be "satisfied with whatever they managed to get with blackmail in the past".
Raila is expected to address his supporters on the damning report released by a 'whistleblower' on the alleged manipulation of the August 9th elections results in favour of President Ruto.
"The Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga returns to the country on Monday, 23rd January 2023. He is expected to land at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 11 am.
"Upon arrival, Mr. Odinga will proceed to the Kamukunji grounds in Kamukunji Constituency, for a People’s Baraza consultations with the public where they will discuss recent disclosures by a whistle-blower on the conduct of the 2022 general election. Mr. Odinga appeals to Kenyans to show up in large numbers at the Kamukunji Baraza, in the interest of the country," a statement released by Raila's Spokesperson Dennis Onyango on Friday read in part.
The controversial report was brought to the limelight by Jubilee Party Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni on Wednesday, January 18.
During his press briefing, Kioni promised that Raila, who is currently in South Africa in his capacity as the AU High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa, would give a comprehensive statement upon his return.
Speaking at the presser, Kioni claimed that the Azimio leader won the August 9, 2022, presidential elections with 8,170,355 votes representing 57.53% of the votes cast.
The former Ndaragwa MP claimed that the research done by Vanguard Africa, which he stated is a non-profit organization, indicates that President Ruto, who was announced by the outgoing Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chair Wafula Chebukati, mustered 5,915,973 votes that represent 41.66% of votes cast.
Kioni further stated that the report by the organization, which he claimed partners with pro-democracy leaders across Africa, showed that presidential results in 59% of the 290 constituencies could not be verified with absolute certainty.
"We’ve seen that 59% of the constituencies cannot be verified with absolute certainty. What can be verified is, Raila Odinga won the elections with 8,170,355 votes representing 57.53% of the votes cast. Ruto got 5,915,973 votes, representing 41.66%.
"A casual peruse of the document; we have seen that at one point 144 constituencies had their results verified and often at times, those results are far from the results that were announced by IEBC," he added.