Kenyan Opposition Leaders Arrested, Tear-Gassed During Demonstrations

Kenyan Opposition Leaders Arrested, Tear-Gassed During Demonstrations (News Central TV)

On Monday, as protesters flocked to the streets to demonstrate against President William Ruto and the high cost of living, Kenyan police used tear gas on the opposition leader and detained top members of his parliamentary caucus.

Tear gas was repeatedly fired at Raila Odinga‘s motorcade as he spoke to his supporters from the sunroof of his vehicle. Raila Odinga was the runner-up in last year’s election and lost to Ruto for the sixth time in a row.

Raila Odinga

In an effort to mobilise opposition to the president, Odinga has called for nationwide demonstrations. According to Odinga’s spokesman, Dennis Onyango, at least four lawmakers were detained during rallies in Nairobi, including the minority leaders of the National Assembly and Senate.

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Police officers in riot gear fired tear gas at hundreds of rock-throwing protesters in the capital Nairobi’s vast Kibera slum, who chanted: “Ruto must go.”

“We are suffering and tired of this Ruto regime. We’ve had enough,” said one protester, who asked not to be identified, as tear gas swirled around her.

The discontented include some of those who voted for Ruto and feel he has not delivered on pledges to help the country’s forgotten “hustlers”, or working-class Kenyans.

To stop Odinga’s convoy from proceeding to the president’s State House residence to present a petition, police utilised tear gas and a water cannon.

Before Odinga emerged from the sunroof to address a mob of fans, the convoy drove through the streets of the capital while dodging police barriers. As he said, tear gas filled the car. He demanded protests every Monday until the expense of living decreased.

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Police also opened fire with tear gas canisters at demonstrators who had lit fires in the road in Kisumu, an Odinga stronghold in western Kenya.

Adamson Bungei, the head of Nairobi’s police department, promised to provide information on the city’s arrests later in the day.

Despite Ruto’s pledges to lower living expenses since becoming office in September, inflation in East Africa’s economic powerhouse has remained high, climbing to 9.2% in February.

According to Ruto, his administration is establishing the groundwork for a stronger economy by reducing its dependency on borrowing.

Odinga has framed the rally as a chance to voice opposition to the August election, which he claims was contaminated by fraud.

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This year, he appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, but the court upheld Ruto’s victory, and the election saw little of the violence that Odinga also contested in 2007 and 2017.

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