Kenya Braces for Protests as Opposition Leader Threatens Mass Action

Picture collage of William Ruto and Ralia Odinga

Allies of Kenyan President William Ruto have shared the government’s plans to counter opposition leader Raila Odinga’s defiance campaign. The government has put security agencies on high alert and formed cordons around sensitive government installations to hold back protestors. The ruling alliance has also instructed politicians to tone down verbal attacks on former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s family to avoid cementing his bond with Mr. Odinga. There are also plans to go slow on prosecuting former senior state officials targeted by the new administration, following fears that their arraignment could fuel anti-government sentiments.

Some young legislators have been asked to soften their incessant attacks on the Kenyatta family, and President Ruto is considering appointing some Chief Administrative Secretaries from opposition bastions to pacify the regions. The Azimio la Umoja One Kenya protests entered the second day on Friday, with the planned major procession in Nairobi on March 20.

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As tensions continue to simmer, the government has taken measures to tighten security and protect sensitive government installations, anticipating potential protests. In addition, the ruling alliance has advised politicians to refrain from verbally attacking former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s family in order to prevent strengthening his bond with Odinga. Plans to prosecute former senior state officials have been put on hold to avoid further stoking anti-government sentiments. Young legislators have also been instructed to ease their criticism of the Kenyatta family. Ruto is contemplating appointing Chief Administrative Secretaries from opposition strongholds to help pacify these regions.

Conversely, the opposition is determined to leverage public dissatisfaction with rising living costs to gain momentum and build support for their cause. Opposition politicians have been encouraged to utilise the high cost of living to galvanise their constituencies and inspire a wave of anti-government sentiment ahead of the Nairobi mass action. Analysts wait to see which side will emerge victorious in the ongoing struggle for power and influence in Kenya.

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