Raila Odinga Condemns Government’s Management of National Affairs

May 14, 2024

Raila Odinga has criticized the government for “personalizing” national issues affecting millions of Kenyans.

The opposition leader and leader of the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition called upon President William Ruto to brace for an unprecedented battle in the country, emphasizing that “this is not about me.”

In a statement issued over the weekend, Odinga underscored the coalition’s key advocacy, including the reconstitution of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to safeguard democratic processes.

Pointing to the recent expulsion of four dissenting IEBC commissioners, Odinga stressed that transparent recruitment of commissioners is imperative for ensuring free and fair elections.

“A situation where all IEBC commissioners, and, by extension, members of any board, are required to agree with whatever the chairman says or does is a serious danger to future elections and anyone can be a victim. In leading the calls for a transparent and inclusive reform of the IEBC, I am acting for posterity, in the best interest of the nation,” he said.

The Former Prime Minister also raised concerns about recent government appointments favoring certain tribes, which he deemed discriminatory.

Regarding the proposed three percent housing fund levy in the Finance Bill, 2023, Odinga expressed worry that it would further strain the finances of many Kenyans already grappling with the high cost of living.

Odinga’s coalition further accused President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza administration of monopolizing power by poaching MPs from the Azimio coalition.

The former prime minister also opposed the government’s tax hike on beauty products, emphasizing the industry’s role in employment generation.

“I do not need beauty products, neither do my co-principals. But I recognise the beauty industry as a source of employment for millions of our people, particularly the youth, hence my opposition to the 316 per cent tax hike on these products,” he said.

Odinga issued the statement amid stalled bipartisan talks aimed at addressing the coalition’s grievances.

The Azimio team had set a Tuesday deadline for Kenya Kwanza to propose ways to revive the talks, with an expected announcement on whether the counterparts have committed to resuming negotiations.

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