Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga on Thursday announced the start of nationwide protests against President William Ruto.
The move comes after Odinga’s 14-day ultimatum to the government to reduce the cost of living and open the 2022 presidential election servers lapsed Wednesday at midnight.
Speaking to hundreds of his supporters Thursday, Odinga launched the Movement for Defense of Democracy (MDD), an initiative he said was aimed at challenging the current regime.
“We have launched peaceful campaigns of defiance, peaceful picketing, protests, boycotts, strikes, disobedience, petitions, sit-ins and peaceful demonstrations, and it starts now,” he said.
He expressed disappointment with Ruto’s administration, accusing it of failing to deliver on its election promises, thereby subjecting Kenyans to economic hardship.
The opposition leader said the planned protests would be peaceful but warned that his supporters would not be intimidated.
He declared March 20 as the date for the “mother of all protests,” which is expected to bring the country to a standstill.
The announcement of the protests has caused jitters in the country, with businesses and ordinary citizens fearing for their safety.
Some have expressed concerns that the demonstrations could escalate into violence, as has been witnessed in the past.
The government has yet to respond to Odinga’s call for protests, but sources within the administration, including Odinga’s loyal supporters, have indicated that it will not tolerate any breach of the law.