A church service attended by President William Ruto and his allies in Tharaka Niithi, Kenya, turned into a political battlefield as they launched verbal attacks on Raila Odinga, the Azimio coalition leader.
After the clergyman concluded the prayers, the political leaders used the opportunity to throw barbs at Odinga for his plan to boycott products as part of his mass action against the government. Tharaka Nithii governor, Kimani Ichungwa, Kiraitu Murung, and other leaders present in the church spoke with one voice on how the president and interior CS will tackle Raila.
This incident came after Odinga declared a countrywide mass protest to force Ruto’s administration to address the high cost of living, electoral reforms, and abandon dictatorial tactics.
On the fifth anniversary of his truce with Ruto’s predecessor, Uhuru Kenyatta, which ended a post-election crisis after the disputed 2017 elections, Odinga announced a massive procession in Nairobi on March 20 to push for a “legitimate and inclusive government.”
He called on Kenyans to defend the 2022 presidential election through the Movement for Defence of Democracy (MDD). Odinga declared Ruto’s administration “illegitimate, reckless, heartless, and incompetent” and launched a campaign of defiance, peaceful picketing, protests, boycotts, strikes, disobedience, petitions, sit-ins, and demonstrations.
The tension between Ruto and Odinga has been rising as they prepare for the 2022 presidential elections. The political class’s use of religious institutions for political campaigns is unacceptable and goes against the church’s doctrine of impartiality. The church’s leadership must take a stand and discourage political leaders from using places of worship to advance their political agendas. In conclusion, Kenya needs a peaceful and democratic electoral process, and the political class must avoid hate speech and violence that may trigger chaos and threaten the country’s stability.