Kenya’s new president on Monday accused an opposition leader of trying to ignite a political crisis after calling his rule illegitimate.
President William Ruto alleged in Swahili that a recent rally by thousands of supporters of Raila Odinga, a former prime minister who lost last August’s presidential election by a margin of under 2%, did not have the country’s benefit at heart.
“These demonstrations serve egotistical business interests rather than the public good,” he said on the protest held Monday in the capital Nairobi, where Odinga said he did not recognize Ruto as president and alleged that the election had been stolen.
Claiming that Odinga wanted to come to a “handshake” deal with the government to share power, Ruto ruled out the possibility of such an agreement, saying he didn’t need one since he was democratically elected.
“They shouldn’t mention a handshake deal or claim they aren’t interested in shaking our hands. The government will not be intimidated in order to further the interests of a select group of people and their family enterprises because we know who they are and what they want,” he added.
Ruto also claimed that Odinga, leader of the opposition Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya Alliance Party, sought to trigger a political crisis to advance the interests of his family’s business.
Political analyst Hassan Manyora argued that though no government would want to share power, doing so was often the result of serious circumstances.
According to experts, many allies of the family businesses of Odinga, who alleged that cartels had rigged the polls in Ruto’s favor by infiltrating the Supreme Court and Electoral Commission, have distanced themselves from the politician.