A section of traders in Kiambu county have raised concerns over planned rallies by Azimio leader Raila Odinga, saying the country’s peace is at stake.

Raila is set to hold a series of public rallies action over suspension of four IEBC commissioners who include vice chairperson Juliana Cherera, Irene Masit, Francis Wanderi and Justus Nyang’aya.

The traders, led by Joram Kinyanjui, said that the call for mass action by the former premier is set to cause disunity and drastically affect the country’s economy which has been struggling to stabilise since the onset of Covid-19 in 2019.

“We are worried as traders because we have tasted the wrath of mass action in this country. The country is coming from tough periods of Corona virus pandemic and a heated electioneering period. We don’t want more hurdles as we struggle to get our economy back to its feet,” Kinyanjui said.

He said it’s time President William Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua set aside their political differences with Raila for the sake of political tranquility and unity.

Kinyanjui said that Ruto should emulate presidents Mwai Kibaki and Uhuru Kenyatta and hold talks with the opposition leader to foster peace.

“Kibaki called Raila and the country which had been thrown into turmoil after the 2007 general election and peace was restored. Uhuru in 2017 called Raila and held hands for the sake of the country’s stability and he was able to develop the country tremendously,” he said. 

Thika-based trader Humphrey Njomo said that any form of protests led by the opposition leaders will slow down the country’s growth.

“We are pleading with our leaders to come together join efforts in developing our nation,” he said.

Raila has since refuted claims that today’s (Wednesday) meeting at Kamukunji Grounds amounts to protests, saying  the meeting is a coming together of Kenyans to share views on the state of affairs in the country.

He assured Kenyans that the meeting and a subsequent one at Jacaranda Grounds in Nairobi on December 12, which he said will be a celebration of patriots, will be a peaceful and orderly gathering of Kenyans and not a protest or picketing as the government is trying to portray it.

The ODM leader warned the government not to use any excuse to cause mayhem that day and blame it on Azimio leaders.

President Ruto and his Deputy Rigathi have since dismissed any possibilities of engaging Raila in talks of involving him  in their leadership.

Ruto instead told Raila that demonstrations will not solve anything and advised him to sue him or his government.

The head of state said that his government will not be blackmailed by the Azimio leader through planned protests.

“We will provide the opposition leaders with enough security. They can hold as many rallies as possible so long as they do not lead to destruction of property,” Ruto said.

Sourced from the star