LIVE BLOG: Raila Leads Fresh Protests Against Ruto Despite IG Koome Ban

The protests have commenced in most parts of the country such as Mombasa, Kisumu, Kisii, Nyamira, Migori, and even some parts of Western Kenya.

LIVE BLOG: Raila Leads Fresh Protests Against Ruto Despite IG Koome Ban
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga leading Saba Saba demonstration in Nairobi County on July 7, 2023. /RAILA ODINGA

Azimio la Umoja leader, Raila Odinga, is expected to once again lead in nationwide protests against President William Ruto's administration on Wednesday, July 12, piling pressure on the government.

On the day before the protests, Raila launched a signature collection initiative dubbed Tumechoka Citizens to force President Ruto's administration out of power, aiming to collect at least 15 million signatures.

Inspector General of Police (IG) Japhet Koome had declared the demonstrations illegal, arguing that while the Constitutional provision under Article 37 guarantees freedom of assembly, picketing, and petitioning, previous demonstrations especially by the opposition outfit have led to deaths and destruction of property.

Koome further accused Azimio of failing to notify the police of the planned protests, with Ruto and his deputy, Rigathi Gachagua, warning Kenyans against taking part in the protests, promising to protect lives and property. Some of the ruling coalition's allies have called for the arrest of Raila and his supporters.

Raila Odinga's convoy teargassed by police while leaving Kamukunji grounds on July 7, 2023. /RAILA ODINGA

Keep refreshing this page as Viral Tea provides you with the latest updates, reactions and analysis during the Azimio nationwide protests

5.55 pm: Parents rush to Kihumbuini Primary School after the tragedy that saw pupils faint after being teargassed by anti-riot officers. Over 30 pupils are nursing injuries at a local hospital. 

5.16 pm: Police lob teargas to disperse youth vandalizing a local supermarket in Mlolongo

5.02 pm: Former Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi and Laikipia West MP aspirant Sarolyne Wanjiku were arrested by anti-riot police officers. In a video, the MP aspirant tried to resist arrest and was wrestled into the police vehicle by the officers. 

4.35 pm: Gunmen aboard Subarus, some lacking number plates, arrive and shoot in the air to disperse Mlolongo protestors. Reports indicated that they were armed with AK47 rifles, thus they were police officers.

Further, officers who were deployed in the area warned the residents of any gathering of sorts. A special police unit was dispatched to deal with the Mlolongo situation. They began walking into various estates in Mlolongo where they claimed the protestors were hiding.

4:13 pm: School children get caught up in chaos as the situation escalates in Mlolongo.

3.51 pm: Former Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya claims that he was headed to an official's office for tea when his vehicle was damaged, laying blame on the police.

"As you can see they aimed at my car and at that time there were no demonstrations. We were going to mheshimiwa's house for tea and were to appear in town later. They began pelting us and police officers lobbed teargas at my car. Quite a number of people, who were not involved in the protests, were being beaten by police," he noted. 

3.39 pm: Juakali in Kisumu razed down, with the cause of the fire yet to be established. The city is at a standstill as protestors engage police in Kondele, Kachok and Jua Kali.

3:20 pm: Death toll rises to three after two more people are killed during anti-government protests in the Mlolongo area. 

3:03 pm: Residents barricade Embu - Mwea - Nairobi highway in protest against the high cost of living

2.46 pm: The former Prime Minister nonetheless praised his supporters for taking a stand against the government and showing up en masse countrywide.

"Kenyans understand that suffering will be the new normal if Ruto gets away with the Finance Act 2023 and other decisions he is currently pursuing. We won't move on until Ruto comes out and repeals the Finance Act 2023, commits to respect and stops interfering with other parties and adopts measures that would lower the cost of living," he added. 

2.45 pm: Raila claims that goons were sponsored to vandalise property to pin blame squarely on the opposition, even though the nationwide protests would continue until President William Ruto repeals sections of the Finance Act 2023. 

2.44 pm: Raila Odinga cancels planned Kamukunji rally after receiving reports of a planned attack.

"Late last night, we received intelligence of a plan by Kenya Kwanza to ferry armed goons who would attack our rally in Kamukunji. These goons had express orders to shoot directly at the crowd while enjoying police protection," Raila stated during a presser at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga foundation.

2.26 pm: Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) estimates that Kenya's economy is losing Ksh3 billion a day due to anti-government protests; warns country cannot afford the prevailing political activities.

2.10 pm: Reports indicate that Azimio principals will hold a media briefing at Jaramogi Odinga Oginga Foundation at 2:30 pm before proceeding to Kamukunji for the major rally.

2.09 pm: Several pupils from the  Kihumbuni primary school in Kangemi were hospitalized on Wednesday afternoon as a result of suffocating from teargas fumes. The teargas was allegedly thrown into the school by police officers who were dispersing residents who were protesting the high cost of living.

A resident said the teargas was lobbed in grade 7 class. The kids lacked oxygen and were rushed to Eagles nursing home.

1.42 pm: Middle-aged man dies from a police gunshot during the anti-government protests in Emali Township on the Mombasa-Nairobi Highway. The incident followed early morning protests where hundreds of residents barricaded the Mombasa-Nairobi Highway, paralysing transport on the busy road.

1:21 pm: Martha Karua, Peter Munya and Jeremiah Kioni blocked by police from holding a press conference at a Meru Hotel. 

1:07 pm: Azimio supporters lead anti-government protests in Kirinyaga. They fault President Ruto for reneging on his campaign promises. 

1.01 pm: Protestors torch a car as they engaged with police in Mlolongo, Machakos County, with one person reportedly killed

1:00 pm: KTN photojournalist Collins Oduor was attacked by police officers and was rushed to Kisumu County Referral Hospital.

12:54 pm: ODM deputy party leader Wycliffe Oparanya and Roots party leader George Wajackoyah lead anti-government protests in Busia.

12.50 pm: Police retreat as Protesters advance at Mlolongo, Nairobi- Mombasa highway

12.50 pm: Protesters light a huge bonfire blocking a road in Kilifi County

12.43 pm: Goons stone a vehicle driven by Citizen TV crew in Kileleshwa, Nairobi.

12.44 pm: Protesters set a police car on fire at Emali on the Nairobi-Mombasa highway. 

A police car is torched by protesters at Emali on the Nairobi-Mombasa highway on July 12, 2023. /PHOTO

12:40 pm: Transport paralysed on Namanga road as protestors block the major Kenya-Tanzania highway.

12.32 pm: Police lob teargas to disperse protestors who lit up bonfires along roads in Nakuru City.

12:10 pm: Police camp at Raila's Karen home ahead of his planned rally and mass protest at Nairobi's Kamkunji grounds. 

12.09 pm: The Nairobi Expressway announced a temporary closure of sections of the 27.1-kilometre elevated road after anti-government protestors vandalised the road during the Azimio la Umoja protests. Read more here

11.39 am: Matatu operators in Nyeri play skipping rope and volleyball at the bus park while protesting against the high cost.

11:31 am: Anti-government protestors vandalised the barrier to Nairobi Expressway near Mlolongo, Machakos County. 

11:21 am: Police officers successfully repelled a group of youth in Kibera who were attempting to cross Mbagathi Way into Nairobi Central Business District (CBD). In Nakuru, police managed to arrest three protestors.

11.23 am: Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi teargassed by police officers as he leads anti-government protests.

11:10 am: Roads blocked and fires lit at Getare and Jogoo areas in Kisii town

11:02 am: Paloma Gatabaki, communications lead of Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, claimed that police officers had taken down tents, sound system and locked the gate to a field set to host the protestors in Wote, Makueni County. 

11:00 am: Security heightened in Kamukunji, Nairobi ahead of Azimio's planned Maandamano.

10.43 am: A number of Public Service Vehicle (PSV) operators downed their tools in protest over the high cost of fuel and the mandatory driver testing despite its suspension by Transport CS, Kipchumba Murkomen.

In some parts of the country such as Nairobi and Western Kenya, PSV operators removed their vehicles from the road with fears over the effects of the planned Azimio demonstrations. Some drivers demanded that the mandatory retesting be abolished completely.

10.42 am: Streets in Kisumu remain clear save for boda boda riders with very few passengers to ferry. At the Bus Terminus, a football match is ongoing along the Kisumu-Kakamega road, complete with a referee.

The protests have commenced in most parts of the country such as Mombasa, Kisumu, Kisii, Nyamira, Migori, and even some parts of Western Kenya.

Earlier, the British Embassy warned of major disruptions in the country given that the planned matatu strike coincided with the Azimio la Umoja protests.

"Public transport strikes are planned for the same day and are expected to cause transport disruptions. In the past, demonstrations in Kenya have resulted in clashes between the police and demonstrators. Avoid protests and political gatherings.

"Protests can occur in different places, be alert to media coverage and if you see a large crowd move away from the area. Some workplaces and schools may be closed on these days," read the statement in part.

Saba Saba protests in Nairobi CBD and along Thika Road on July 7, 2023. /FILE