Conflicts & War

Kenyan opposition leader seeks referendum to oust president

Nairobi, Jul 7 (EFE).- The leader of the main opposition in Kenya, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, launched here Friday a drive to collect 10 million signatures in favor of a referendum on removing President William Ruto.

“I, Raila Amollo Odinga will start with a signature here today. You will also get the papers to sign so that by next week we have 10 million. The people have started the process of taking back the power given to others to represent them,” he told supporters in Nairobi.

Odinga, 78, narrowly lost the August 2022 election to the 56-year-old Ruto, but never conceded.

And though the Supreme Court rejected his legal challenge to the result, Odinga continues to denounce the election as “stolen.”

“Kenyans elected leaders to parliament and they have betrayed them,” Odinga said during a rally at Kamukunji Grounds. “Ruto himself, who took over power illegally, has betrayed Kenyans.”

Odinga then led a march on Nairobi’s Central Park to protest the rising cost of living and the substantial increase in the tax burden resulting from the Finance Act, signed into law by Ruto last week.

The legislation includes new levies and hikes in existing taxes on food, fuel, and mobile money transfers.

Article 145 of Kenya’s constitution creates a mechanism allowing lawmakers to initiate a presidential impeachment, but it makes no mention of convening a referendum.

Police used tear gas to disperse the opposition march and – according to Odinga’s aides – fired live rounds at the vehicles carrying the former prime minister and other leaders.

EFE pa/dr

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