Azimio-OKA Should Adopt Constructive Engagement, Not Anarchy for a Prosperous Kenya

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As we reflect on Kenya’s rich history, one pivotal event stands out: the Saba Saba movement. Rooted in the quest for democracy and political reforms.  Saba Saba symbolized the aspirations of Kenyans for a more inclusive and equitable society.

On 7th July 1990, the historic protest was first held. This was incited by the arrest of Kenneth Matiba, Raila Odinga and Charles Rubia’s unlawful detentions just days before the D-Day. Kenyans, regardless of the then President Moi’s ban of the protest, showed up in great numbers, all over the country to demonstrate the state repression.

The brutality unleashed on Kenyans on that day was highly condemned by not only by human rights organizations all over the world but also the country’s development partners and it is one of the things that forced President Moi to repeal the Constitution and allow the reintroduction of multiparty democracy in Kenya.

Originally, the movement was meant to ignite in Kenyans the power of the people, and their human right to a democratic republic. The movement’s agendas were the end of political oppression and the liberation of the common mwananchi through economic empowerment, improved infrastructure, employment opportunities and access to financial services to combat economic inequalities.

Thus, Saba Saba has always been a meaningful day for Kenyans, who are reminded that the freedoms we enjoy have been fought for and paid with in blood and tears.

However, in 2023, things have changed. Calling for demonstrations, peaceful or not could be counterproductive. The Azimio-One Kenya Coalition Party called for today’s Kamukunji rally in Nairobi to call for the government to end police brutality, protest the high cost of living and taxation but without offering corrective measures or support to put an end to the issues our taxes are meant to cater for.

President Ruto has insisted, since his inauguration in 2022 that he seeks to reduce the country’s external debt, build self-reliance for the country, improve the agricultural sector, with reforms such as the Tea Reforms spearheaded by H.E Gachagua, and overall improving the lives of all Kenyans from all walks of life.

All over the country today, businesses were stalled or closed as Kenyans took to the streets to answer this somewhat misguided call. With obvious economic ramifications, these protests are serving the opposite of their intention.

Economic liberation is brought about by making legislative changes. Protests have a negative effect on sectors such as tourism which are crucial for economic growth of the country.  The financial and transport sector are also majorly affected by protests in the country. Unrest all over the country also negatively affects the informal sector, the largest employer in this country.

The public protests, however legitimate and anchored in law, have served to destabilize the country. President Ruto’s government is built on the foundation of empowerment of all Kenyans and he needs all hands on deck to stabilise the country’s economy and cannot do it without the support of Kenyans.

A call to all Kenyans, remember that our country is ours to build and grow. The country’s prosperity is prosperity for us all.

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