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Raila Odinga Calls Off Violent Kenyan Protests, Agrees To Have Talks With Ruto

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga on Sunday called off demonstrations planned for Monday. He said his party has agreed to hold talks with the government after two weeks of protests.

“We stand down our demonstrations for Monday, that is tomorrow, April 3, 2023. But in doing so, we want to emphasise that the right to assemble, to demonstrate, petition, and speak are iron-clad as provided for in our constitution,” the veteran opposition leader told reporters.

This announcement comes after President William Ruto urged the opposition to cancel their protest. He called on to them to participate in a bipartisan parliamentary committee to work through their concerns related to last year’s elections.

Odinga has on numerous occasions accused Ruto of stealing the presidency from hi. He, therefore, considers his government illegitimate, although the Supreme Court of Kenya upheld the results.

The opposition leader welcomed Ruto’s “olive branch” but warned they could resume protests if progress was not made.

“We reserve our right to call for demonstrations should this process not bear fruit,” he reiterated.

“Should there be no meaningful engagement or response from Hon(Honourable) Ruto to our counter-offer, we resolve to resume our demonstrations after one week.”

Three people have died since Odinga called protesters to the street for the first time on March 20. He had vowed to march every Monday and Thursday until their concerns are met.

The protests triggered clashes with riot police firing tear gas and water cannon at demonstrators, while many businesses have been looted and property vandalised.

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