On March 16th, 2023, Raila Odinga, a prominent Kenyan politician, and former Prime Minister, announced plans to hold mass anti-Ruto protests under the banner of his Azimio La Umoja movement.
Odinga’s Azimio La Umoja movement, which translates to “unity declaration,” was launched in January 2023 as a platform for promoting national unity and reconciliation in the run-up to the presidential election. The movement has been endorsed by a number of prominent politicians and civil society leaders and has attracted significant support from Kenyans who are disillusioned with the country’s current political climate.
The anti-Ruto protests are expected to take place in major cities across Kenya and Odinga has called on his supporters to come out in large numbers to show their opposition to Ruto’s divisive politics. The protests are also aimed at putting pressure on Ruto to tone down his rhetoric and engage in more constructive dialogue with his political opponents.
The announcement of the protests has been met with mixed reactions from Kenyans, with some expressing support for Odinga’s efforts to promote national unity, while others are concerned about the potential for violence and unrest. The Kenyan government has also expressed concern about the protests, with some officials warning that they could be used as a pretext for inciting violence and destabilizing the country.
Despite these concerns, Odinga has remained steadfast in his commitment to holding the protests, arguing that they are necessary to promote a more peaceful and united Kenya. He has called on Ruto and his supporters to engage in a more constructive dialogue with their political opponents and has urged Kenyans to reject the politics of division and embrace a more inclusive and tolerant vision for the country’s future.
The success of Odinga’s anti-Ruto protests will depend on a number of factors, including the level of support they receive from Kenyans, the response of the Kenyan government, and the actions of Ruto and his supporters. Regardless of the outcome, however, it is clear that the protests are a sign of the deep political divisions that continue to plague Kenya, and that the country will need to find a way to move beyond them if it is to realize its full potential as a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic nation.