Did Raila Contradict His Statement On March To State House?

Odinga had called upon Kenyans to turn out in large numbers at the city centre...

Did Raila Contradict His Statement On March To State House?
Raila Odinga during the launch of mass action on March 9, 2023. /TWITTER.RAILA ODINGA

Azimio La Umoja leader Raila Odinga on Sunday, March 19 affirmed that Monday, March 20’s “grand march to State House” is on and will kick off at Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD).

Odinga had called upon Kenyans to turn out in large numbers at the city centre, from where they will proceed to President William Ruto’s official residence to air their grievances.

He assured them that they will “reclaim” their 2022 General Election win, which he insists was stolen through a rigged exercise by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

“Let us all converge in the CBD and begin our grand march to State House to reclaim our stolen victory,” he said in part in a video message.

Raila Odinga addressing supporters in Ongata Rongai on March 19, 2023. /RAILA ODINGA

It is worth it to note however that Raila on Saturday, March 18 stated that not every protester will go to State House, save for a few representatives from the opposition.

During an interview with Citizen TV, Odinga clarified that the coalition would not unlawfully march to the house on the hill but would send its representatives to communicate their grievances to President Ruto, contrary to reports circulating online.

“We are people who respect and know the law. Our leader Wycliffe Oparanya wrote to the Inspector General of Police informing him that we would hold a rally. Those who will be able to come to Nairobi will come to Nairobi and those unable will hold their meetings wherever they will be,” he stated.

“It will be peaceful protests and they have the memorandum which they will take to different government offices. Here in Nairobi, we also have the memos which we are going to take to the President. If he will be in Harambee House, we will take the memos there, if he will be in State House, we will send people to take it there; not the crowd. We will send a message through a few people to take our petition to the President, not the whole crowd.”

Even though Odinga did not reveal who would be sent to the highest house in the land, he stated that the party’s committee would make the decision in due course.

“We will send a message through a few people to take our petition to the President. I don’t know if I will be part of the team but if I’m picked by the party members, I will go.”

Consequently, Odinga allayed fears of trespass for his supporters owing to the fact that the State House is a protected zone adding that Constitutionally, the residence is a public office that every Kenyan should be allowed to visit.

He however noted that if denied entry, the selected team would leave their message to the Head of State at the State House entrance.

“State House is a public institution where you can go any time, it is not private. It is not that it is a protected area where the public cannot access, it is the office of the president,” Odinga emphasized.

Interior Security Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki on Sunday warned protesters against breaching restricted premises such as State House and State House Lodges among other protected areas that will be off limits on that day.

"It is notified for information of the general public that pursuant to the Protected Areas Act (CAP 204 of the Laws of Kenya), security agencies shall prevent unauthorized access to all protected areas. The same Constitution that gives freedom for assembly limits enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms to ensure the protection of the rights and freedoms of others and to promote broader societal interests including public order, safety and morality," the CS warned.

According to Raila's recent social media update, the protests would begin at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC).

Police mount roadblocks on roads leading to State House on March 8, 2023. /TWITTER