STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY HON. WILLIAM SAMOEI RUTO, PhD., C.G.H., PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA AND COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE DEFENCE FORCES
In the last two weeks, our Country has experienced grave acts of lawlessness, widespread violence, looting and invasion of private property by persons taking advantage of political demonstrations, called by the opposition.
During this period, lives have been lost, people injured, property looted or destroyed, the economy has suffered and our image as a Nation dented.
Our security agencies have endeavored to do everything within the law to protect the lives and property of all citizens. Nevertheless, the violence, chaos and disorder continues to distract our national focus of economic transformation.
Three Kenyans, among them a police officer have lost their lives in the protests. More than four hundred Kenyans, including at least 60 security officers have been injured. A Police vehicle was burnt to ashes, while another was hijacked and commandeered by unruly protestors. Two houses of worship were burnt down. Kiosks, supermarkets and a mortuary were looted.
Our Country’s image and history in the league of Modern Nations has been at stake. The Country’s economy has been hard hit, at a time when my administration is doing everything possible to salvage the economy from the deep hole it was in. My administration has instituted solid measures and policies to attract investors, and through their investment, create opportunities for millions of our young people to realize their potential. We cannot allow these efforts to be derailed by acts of violence, chaos, and anarchy.
We all have an obligation to respect the Constitution of Kenya. This also includes respect for the institutions established and created by the Constitution. Our Country’s electoral system and process is anchored on the principles of this Constitution. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) conducted a free, fair and transparent General Election on 9th August 2022, a poll that was observed by different organisations; local and foreign.
The Commission declared the results for all six elections conducted and any contestant who was aggrieved by the outcome, had an
opportunity to present their grievances to the country’s Judicial
system for arbitration.
The Supreme Court of Kenya heard and determined with finality, the 2022 Presidential election dispute and ruled on the petitions that were filed by the aggrieved contestants and their supporters.
Nevertheless, I have carefully listened to the issues raised by Honorable Raila Odinga. In times like these, it is not about who is right or who is wrong. Like Winston Churchill said, I dare say that “courage is what it takes to stand up and speak, but it is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
I have always been ready to engage Kenyans of all walks of life, including elected and appointed leaders from across the political divide, and the religious fraternity on how to make our country
better and more prosperous. My door still remains open for honest, objective and sincere deliberations, based on the rule of law and the Constitution.
On the re-constitution of the future electoral commission, the selection panel that is currently in office is a creation of the law that was passed by the two chambers of Parliament in response to a
Court decision. The Court clearly stated that one institution, in this case Parliament, cannot dominate the process of establishing an electoral commission at the expense of other institutions that have
a role to play in the country’s electoral process.
However, considering the matters raised on this particular subject, I suggest a bi-partisan engagement in Parliament on the re-constitution of the IEBC panel within the parameters of the law and the constitution.
In any case as a democrat and guided by the constitution I, on 9th December 2022, sent a memorandum to Speakers of the National Assembly and Senate, requesting for purposive intervention on the Implementation of the two-thirds Gender Rule; entrenchment in the Constitution of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), Senate Oversight and National Gender Affirmative Action funds, establishment of the position of the leader of official opposition and the improvement of Parliamentary oversight of the Executive.
The IEBC selection Panel and the future process of recruitment of its Commissioners could as well be part of a conversation leading to Constitutionally and legally binding proposals, through a bi-partisan Parliamentary process.
In these circumstances, and in view of the recent event that led to loss of lives and destruction of property I urge Hon. Raila Odinga to call off any further demonstrations.
Meanwhile, I call on all Kenyans to remain peaceful and law-abiding. I assure you that the government will continue with its sacred duty of protecting lives and property.
AZIMIO LA UMOJA COUNTER OFFER TO HON WILLIAM SAMOEI RUTO ON DIALOGUE BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT AND AZIMIO LA UMOJA
April 2, 2023
Today, Hon Samoei Ruto, my opponent in last year’s presidential contest, has issued what I regard as an important statement since the election.
We have met with and listened to a diverse group of Kenyans including religious leaders from all faiths about the crisis facing our country.
They have implored us to give dialogue, especially during the holy periods of Easter and Ramadhan.
It is in this context that we make this counter offer to Hon Ruto’s call for dialogue.
Mr. Ruto has asked me and Azimio to enter into a constitutional, open-ended, and binding dialogue with his government to find a resolution to the issues that we in Azimio have raised about the last year’s election and key governance and cost of living issues facing our country.
As Kenyans know, we disputed the 2022 election results declared by then IEBC Chair Wafula Chebukati and a minority of two commissioners against the express decision of a majority of FOUR commissioners to reject those results.
To our consternation, the Supreme Court unfortunately agreed with the IEBC.
We refused to accept the ruling of the Supreme Court as biased and lacking in proper jurisprudence.
Since then, we have widely consulted with the people of Kenya throughout the width and breadth of this great country of ours in mass rallies and more recently in demonstrations in Nairobi and elsewhere.
We believe that the people of this country understand the danger we face as a country.
In our view elections are sacred because they must represent the true voice of the people.
We have raised key issues that we face as a country including electoral injustice, the cost of living, the legitimacy of the IEBC, the opening of the server for a forensic audit, the savage attacks on media and innocent civilians by the police, and the viability of our democracy, including buying off opposition MPs.
I believe that Kenya is today facing its worst crisis in decades out which we could recover, or go the way of other failed states.
As leaders, it is our responsibility in Azimio La Umoja to save this country from catastrophe.
We as Azimio La Umoja have resolved the following:
We acknowledge Mr. Ruto’s olive branch for a dialogue on the key issues raised by Azimio La Umoja. To us, this a positive development.
We agree that a balanced parliamentary process co-chaired by both sides and backed by experts is an appropriate way to proceed.
In our view, this committee must be composed with immediate with strict deadlines for resolving the crisis facing the country.
In accepting the call for dialogue, we ask that all arrests and prosecutions related to our demonstrations be stopped with immediate effect.
In view of the foregoing, we stand down our demonstrations for Monday, April 3, 2023.
But in doing so, we want to emphasize that the rights to assemble, demonstrate, petition, and speak are ironclad as provided for in our constitution.
Therefore, we reserve our right to call for demonstrations should this process not bear fruit. Should there be no meaningful engagement, or response from the Hon Ruto our counter offer, we resolve to resume our demonstrations after a week.
Some key basics for these very important talks to succeed for Kenyans.
Number One. Let the principals deal with the key issues and let them take full responsibility for what emerges out of it. Keep the loudmouths out of the talks.
Number Two. Focus on what is good for the country. It is not about what is good for Raila personally or what is good for Ruto as an individual. The country is bigger than Ruto and Raila combined. That has to be the focus.
Three. Please completely forget about 2027 or the next election whenever it will be held. When the next election comes, Kenyan voters will judge their politicians on what they can achieve for the country at this critical time in the history of their country. Concentrate on that and the voters will reward you accordingly.
Fourth. Stop false hopes that the Western Countries like the USA and the UK will help you and sort this mess out for you. Those two countries have terrible messy situations in their own politics and they can’t figure that out. How the heck are they going to help us? They can be part of the conversations but don’t expect anything from them. This will be a solution made in Kenya, by Kenyans, and for Kenyans. Go for it.
Last but not least. Keep tribalism completely out of these negotiations for a better Kenya. Tribalism is part of the reason we are in the mess our country has today. It will not be part of the solution. Of that we are sure as a country.
Adongo Ogony is a Kenyan Human Rights Activist and Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada