Raila Odinga, the One Kenya Party Leader of the Azimio la Umoja, has announced that Monday, March 20, 2023, will be a public holiday to enable Kenyans to participate in the upcoming planned demonstrations. During a rally in Siaya County on Tuesday, the Azimio Chief encouraged Kenyans to join the peaceful countrywide mass action aimed at pressuring the government to lower the cost of living. He also urged participants to behave in an orderly manner and avoid any form of violence or bloodshed.
“We do not want any kind of violence or bloodshed. It is going to be peaceful, and I have also said that we do not want any handshake. We are only doing this because it is the only alternative that we have,” Odinga said.
The declaration by the former premier came after a request from Narc Kenya Party Leader, Martha Karua, who urged Odinga to declare the day a public holiday to enable all working Azimio supporters to participate in the demonstrations.
In response to the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) request to postpone the protests, Odinga stated that the Kenyan Kwanza government had ignored his appeal to lower the cost of living, hence the need for the planned peaceful protests.
“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,” Odinga noted.
However, it’s worth noting that despite Odinga’s declaration, the Kenyan Constitution only allows the Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Interior to declare a public holiday.