- Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition leader Raila Odinga has declared March 20, 2023, a public holiday.
- Raila urged his supporters to conduct themselves in a civilised manner during the protests.
- The ODM leader said his reason for declining NCCK’s request is because Ruto’s administration failed to hearken his warnings.
Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition leader Raila Odinga has declared March 20, 2023, a 'public holiday.'
Raila declared the date, which falls on a Monday, a public holiday to allow Kenyans and his supporters to take part in the planned countrywide mass demonstrations against President William Ruto’s administration for failing to lower the cost of living.
While addressing a political rally on Tuesday in Siaya County, Raila declared Monday a holiday following his deputy principal Martha Karua’s request.
Raila emphasised on the demos being peaceful and void of violence and bloodshed.
"We do not want any kind of violence or bloodshed. It is going to be peaceful. We are only doing this because it is the only alternative that we have,” Raila said.
"In the name of Azimio One Kenya Alliance, we declare that Monday, March 20 will be a public holiday.”
Raila urged his supporters to conduct themselves in a civilised manner during the protests.
Karua had earlier asked Raila to declare Monday a public holiday to allow Kenyans to take part in the mass protest and exercise their constitutional rights.
“I am requesting Raila to declare that day a public holiday to allow us to complete this work. We cannot keep having elections rigging every year; it has to stop,” Karua said.
“The people must use their constitutional right to ensure that they allow the person who was chosen by the people to take over the leadership of the country. Let us join the rally to save this nation. This fight is for the people of Kenya.”
He turned down the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) request to postpone the demos.
The ODM leader said his reason for declining NCCK’s request is because Ruto’s administration failed to hearken his warnings.
“A group of the clergy through the NCCK have appealed to me. I want to tell them in response that we people of Azimio came to the conclusion that we need to have a protest after our ultimatum was completely ignored,” Raila said.
However, the Kenyan Constitution only grants the Interior Cabinet Secretary the authority to declare public holidays.