Kenya’s opposition Azimio La Umoja (Declaration of Unity) alliance, led by veteran opposition politician Raila Odinga, has suspended the latest anti-government protests planned for Thursday after reaching an agreement with President William Ruto’s government.
The twice-weekly protests, which began in March, were resumed on Monday to highlight high living costs and alleged fraud in last year’s election. Odinga is also using the protests to put political pressure on Ruto, whom he accuses of rigging his victory in last year’s polls.
However, the demonstrations have been marred by clashes between police and protesters, as well as sporadic violent incidents like the torching of property and the use of tear gas.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the opposition announced that its leadership had met and “agreed to once more suspend the mass protests that we had earlier scheduled to continue tomorrow.” The decision to suspend the protests was taken after Ruto’s ruling Kenya Kwanza (Kenya First) alliance agreed “to one of our demands,” according to the statement. However, the opposition did not provide details of the agreement.
Accusing President William Ruto of hijacking the election from the previous year and failing to bring down the rising cost of living, opposition leader Raila Odinga had called for protests every Monday and Thursday.
As the demonstrations defying a ban descended into violence back in March, the African Union, the United States of America, and a host of other countries and organizations quickly called for restraint from all parties in Kenya and demanded regard for nonviolent protests. Kenyan religious leaders also called for unconditional talks between President William Ruto and opposition leader, Raila Odinga.
The opposition then suspended the protests earlier in April after agreeing to talks with Ruto’s representatives but resumed them after accusing the government of not negotiating in good faith.