Revealed: Ruto’s call that halted Azimio protests

It is now emerging that President William Ruto prevailed upon opposition leader Raila Odinga to suspend today’s anti-government protests in the spirit of patriotism.

Insiders close to Raila confided in NTV that the visit by the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Kenya today, the presence of the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the ongoing summit in Gigiri, Nairobi forced the leaders to strike a compromise.

According to the leaders, Ruto extended an olive branch to Raila, agreeing to engage on the demands raised by the opposition, which saw the quick succession of the replacement of Eldas MP (Jubilee) Adan Keynan with UDA’s Saku MP Dido Raso.

“The president reached out and pleaded with our party leader to call off the planned Thursday (today) protests, saying it will portray the country’s image in a negative light as foreign dignitaries visit,” said a close ally of Raila.

Ruto is reported to have phoned Raila, agreeing to come to the table to deliberate on the issues raised just days after he claimed the Azimio protests were a decoy to join the government through the back door.

“The Kenya Kwanza leadership has reached out on the spirit of patriotism to give dialogue a chance and replaced Keynan with Raso. We consulted and agreed to reciprocate by suspending the demonstrations,” discussed Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition National Executive Council chairman Wycliffe Oparanya.

Azimio official who sought anonymity stated, “These people have conceded to the Azimio demands, among them removing Keynan. Despite their bravado positions in the past, the change of heart has been necessitated by the visits by global leaders. They are giving a reason that the German chancellor is coming today and the UN meeting is on.”

Another Azimio official added, “The Kenya Kwanza leaders argue that as Kenyan patriots if we do it (protests) when they are around, it can reflect on us very badly. The Azimio leaders decided to reconsider their turf position.”

The latest development in essence shows President Ruto has softened his hardline stands after he told off the opposition that he was not ready to engage them outside the parliamentary bipartisan talks.

This morning, the Azimio bipartisan committee members led by co-chair Otiende Amollo are meeting to deliberate on the Kenya Kwanza changes and give a response.

“Our position was that the Kenya Kwanza side must replace Keynan before we proceed with the talks. We are meeting in light of the developments and will give direction on the same,” said Otiende.

Following the surprise call by Ruto, the Azimio leaders called an impromptu meeting to deliberate on the matter after the communication by National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah and his senate counterpart Senator Aaron Cheruiyot to rescue Keynan.

Raila has studied engineering in German and has a special connection.

In 2018, he visited his Alma Mater the Otto Von Guericke University Magdeburg, Germany following an invitation from his former colleagues who presented me with a book on the school’s history which features former students who took up Public Service jobs.

The German Chancellor begins his East Africa trip in Ethiopia today and then Kenya where he is expected to push for enhanced diplomatic and trade ties and discuss regional peace, top on the agenda is the Sudan crisis.

Scholz recently hosted President Ruto at the Chancellery where he expressed optimism that the two countries’ economic ties could boost trade within the European Union (EU) and in Africa, as well as expand infrastructure in areas of urgent need such as energy generation and fertiliser production, along with strengthening Africa’s role as a global leader.

He noted that retired President Uhuru Kenyatta in his role as Special Envoy, has mediated conflicts in Somalia, Congo, Sudan and Ethiopia.

He lauded Kenya for her role in providing peacekeeping forces for the United Nations, the African Union and regional organisations, and therefore this makes Kenya a significant partner in strong African peacekeeping, which Germany intends to support more strongly.

“I firmly believe that African-led initiatives for peace and stability in Africa will be even more important in the future. This will require support from international partners, which is something we discussed today. Kenya is active on the international stage and embraces multilateralism,” said Scholz stated during the meeting.

Scholz pledged Germany’s support for efforts to increase the number of African seats on the United Nations Security Council.

Germany was the first country to officially recognise Kenya after it became independent.


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