President Uhuru Kenyatta has asked NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga to stop destroying Kenya’s economy for his selfish interest.
Speaking in Meru following the destruction in Kisumu of private property, including a supermarket and water supply system, Mr Kenyatta said Mr Odinga should take responsibility for the damage being caused to the economy through his actions.
He claimed that the opposition leader was putting his personal interest before the interests of 45 million Kenyans, and urged him to stop doing so.
“You can go on with your demonstrations but do not destroy the property of Kenyans,” Mr Kenyatta said. “Today a supermarket was destroyed in Kisumu. What wrong did the owner of the supermarket commit? The water supply in Kisumu was also destroyed. Is that the development that the Kenyan people want?”
Mr Kenyatta further urged the opposition leader to be mindful of the interest of the Kenyan people, and to engage in politics that does not jeopardise the nation’s wellbeing.
“I am telling Raila not to jeopardise the economy because that is what brings the taxes that fund services for Kenyans. Do not let your interest defeat the interest of 45 million Kenyans,” Mr Kenyatta said.
NASA has been holding peaceful nationwide protests to push for reforms in the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) ahead of a fresh presidential poll.
Mr Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has however distanced itself from the vandalism and looting witnessed during the NASA demonstrations in Kisumu.
In a statement issued by ODM Executive Director Oduor Ong’wen, the party blamed the looting and vandalism on Mr Kenyatta’s Jubilee party.
“The ODM Party, which is part of the NASA Coalition, condemns in the unreservedly the reported looting that occurred,” Ong’wen said. “NASA understands such incidences are part of a broader scheme to delegitimize the ongoing demonstrations calling for electoral justice, and are being authored and sponsored by those comfortable with the current status quo where power is acquired and retained through vote stealing – Jubilee Party and its underwriters.”
He questioned why security officers were nowhere when the looting took place. “The deliberate and conspicuous absence of the police as this incident happened points to an unacceptable complicity and choreography for which the local police leadership must come out clean. One way of doing this is to swiftly investigate this incident and bring the culprits – which we believe are known to them – to justice.”
NASA leaders appealed to their supporters to hold peaceful demonstrations without engaging in “acts of violence in spite of extreme provocation; hooliganism or destruction of property.”
“Our demonstrations must and will go on,” Mr Ong’wen said. “We also call upon the police to return to law and order enforcement, which entails the protection of property. This is more critical than their obsession with throwing tear gas and meting ruthless brutality on innocent and law-abiding citizens.”