Maandamano Mondays: Why the Azimio Protests are Important for Kenya's Democracy

Azimio through its leader Hon. Raila Odinga has called for a continuation of the protests now to be held every Monday and Thursday.

Maandamano Mondays: Why the Azimio Protests are Important for Kenya's Democracy
Azimio leader Raila Odinga leading mass protests in Nairobi last week. Source: NN.

The Azimio One Kenya Alliance kicked off mass action against the Ruto regime owing to an increasingly high cost of living and their belief that the 2022 General Election was rigged. Azimio is no party to relent and kicked off their mass protests on Monday the 20th of March 2023, in what has now become known as Maandamano Mondays; with Maandamano being swahili for protests. Azimio through its leader Hon. Raila Odinga has called for a continuation of the protests now to be held every Monday and Thursday.

Maandamano Mondays: Azimio's Demands and the Reason for the Protests

Azimio One Kenya, like the rest of the country, is aggrieved by the preposterous show of non-care for the common wananchi (citizens) portrayed by the William Ruto administration. William Ruto has appointed a bogus government seating the worst land grabbers, corrupt and criminal entities in the country. William Ruto is himself the leader of this cabal having been taken to the International Criminal Court, ICC Hague in connection to the 2007 Post-Election Violence in Kenya.

Heavy police presence in Nairobi and elsewhere in the country on the days slated for Maandamano
There was a heavy police presence in Nairobi and elsewhere in the country on the days slated for Maandamano (protests). Source: TE.

Did William Ruto Steal the 2022 General Elections?

The way the Ruto regime came to power has been under a lot of scrutiny as the process was mostly flawed, especially when it came to counting the votes. The election results were announced after a delay of a few days and were essentially opposite to what independent counters saw as the likely outcome, a Raila Odinga win. As per Raila and Azimio, Ruto stole the election with the help of rogue IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati. Chebukati handed Ruto the win, with Ruto now set to award him an even more prominent post in his bogus government.

Azimio Demands: Open the IEBC Servers, Reduce the Cost of Living, and Bring Back School Fees Subsidies

Azimio One Kenya is, therefore, demanding that the IEBC, which is Kenya's electoral body, open its servers containing the data for the 2022 General Elections, to ascertain the true winner. If it's a fair and credible defeat for Azimio and Raila Odinga, then I believe the opposition will accept and move on. That is demand number one, that the servers for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, IEBC, be opened.

The Burgeoning Cost of Living in Kenya

Demand number two is that the cost of living is brought down immediately. To me and I believe to most Kenyans, this is by far the most touching issue. The cost of living in Kenya has shot up with inflation levels among the highest in the country's history. A pack of 2-kilogram maize flour that easily cost Ksh. 80 in the past is today going for Ksh 220. That is preposterous.

Protestors kicking around a sufuria (aluminum cooking pot) during the Azimio protests on March 20
Protestors kicking around a sufuria (aluminum cooking pot) during the Azimio protests on March 20. The sufuria has become a symbol of protests against the high cost of living and the unaffordability of basic commodities such as flour. Source: The Elephant/Jimmy Kitiro.

Cooking oil is another casualty. A kilogram of cooking oil that previously went for anywhere between Ksh 150-200 is today going for well over Ksh. 300. For the common Kenyan, that is untenable, to say the least.

Kenya: A Country of Mostly Poor Oppressed People

We have to remember that Kenya is a country of mostly poor people with a good portion of the country living on less than a dollar a day. That sounds like bollocks until you realize that it is truly the case. The average Kenyan family barely spends $2 a day. As such, with the current inflation and high cost of basic commodities, these families will have to contend with less for their $2. $2 is roughly Ksh. 300-350.

To put this into context, this means that the family will only afford a pack of 1kg flour which will go for Ksh. 110, a quarter kg of cooking oil for Ksh. 90, half a cabbage for Ksh. 50, and a few buns (4 to be exact) for Ksh. 40. What this means is that the family won't even afford sugar or milk for that day. And if there are kids that will be going to school, they'll be heading out early in the morning without a proper breakfast, and let's not even think whether they'll have anything to carry with them to school for lunch.

Plain-clothed police arresting a protestor in Nairobi Central Business District during the Azimio protests
Plain-clothed police arresting a protestor in Nairobi Central Business District during the Azimio protests. Source: The Elephant/Jimmy Kitiro.

With such a burgeoning cost of living, it is easy to understand what Azimio is heading at and why their cause is very important for the democracy of Kenya. Kenyan are suffering and I for one can tell you that even on a personal front, it is becoming increasingly hard to cope with the difficult financial times. For instance, the US dollar is now equivalent to Ksh. 130 as the current exchange rate.

The Weakening Value of the Kenya Shilling against the U.S Dollar

For me, this means that to pay $5 for a service online, I'll have to part with Ksh. 650, Ksh.150 more and more than a quarter of what I would have paid for at a stable rate of $1 for Ksh. 100. Put this to scale and if I was paying $500, then that is Ksh. 65000, Ksh. 15000 more than what I originally would. For local businesses, that is pure bollocks.

The Removal of School Fees Subsidies by the Kenya Kwanza Government

Another huge demand by Azimio One Kenya is that Ruto's administration, the Kenya Kwanza government, restore the school fees subsidy that was in place that saw all students in secondary schools and special schools pay subsidized fees. This was very crucial as it ensured that almost all primary school graduates got into secondary school, securing themselves a better future and also that of their families.

By removing this provision, Ruto's administration essentially stifled the future of about 40% of secondary school goers, and the future of about 40% of Kenyan families, an outcome that affects more than 20 million people in the country. This is unacceptable and the secondary school and special schools fees subsidies MUST be reinstated. I can't believe that this government even went after money that caters to students with special needs. Such rot.

Other Demands by the Azimio One Kenya Coalition

Other demands by Azimio center around the rule of law, the reinstatement of subsidies and financial help for the elderly, the reinstatement of a youth work scheme dubbed 'Kazi Mtaani' (local work) that gave jobs to unemployed youths, and very importantly that the civil service be constituted fairly and with qualified, dignified, and non-corrupt officials. As it currently stands, the civil service is full of officials from two tribes, the Kalenjin, President Ruto's tribe, and Kikuyus, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua's tribe.

Why the Azimio Protests are Important for Kenya's Democracy

The Azimio protests are very important for Kenya's Democracy because they call for a coming back to the senses for the current government and regime. Kenya is one of Africa's most prominent countries and is also one with the most potential.

The Scourge of Unemployment on Kenyan Youth

A good example is the presence of highly educated and skilled youths whose majority of lack employment. I, for instance, cannot find a job despite having a degree in Business IT and being very proficient in matters of IT and Web Development, SEO, etc. This is a tragedy. I am a special case also, as I have felt that I need to be creating employment and not necessarily clogging the employment channels by putting my hat in the ring if I can do without a job.

Why the Azimio Protests are Important for Kenya's Democracy

The Azimio protests are also hugely important for their calling for a reduced cost of living. Kenya is in a huge financial crisis at the moment. This hit very hard recently on a personal level when I almost went hungry thanks to a burgeoning loss of value against the dollar. My small business also collapsed thanks to the troubled financial times.

The Illegal Appointment of 50 CASs by the Ruto Regime

You can imagine that a blogger like me with a minute dollar income is likely to go hungry in a country where the President is comfortable with appointing and swearing in 50 CASs 'Chief Administrative Secretaries', each to be paid a whopping Ksh. 780,000 a month. I am personally more educated than any of these guys but I am struggling to ensure a meal while they are consuming something like Ksh. 30,000 a day.

The Azimio motorcade being rained on with teargas as they left for the protests
The Azimio motorcade was rained on with teargas as they left for the protests. Source: TE.

The CASs are illegally in place as every ministry already has a Principal Secretary or PS, who executes the role of assisting the minister or Cabinet Secretary to ensure the smooth functioning of the ministry. To add salt to injury, the CASs all come from the President and Deputy President's communities, in a daring show of nepotism, tribalism, and ethnically-motivated appointments. This act, among many others, is a middle finger to Kenya's democracy and I think it is right to support Azimio in protesting against such.

Why President William Ruto is Unfit to Lead Kenya

Kenya is bigger than any one man. President Ruto is an alleged con and land grabber who's effectively used the religion card to hoodwink a Christian majority in Kenya. He and his wife now 'pray' for the end of drought while he and his deputy are receiving Ksh. 802 million yearly, purely for buying motor vehicles. Can you imagine that the tax we all pay as Kenyans is being used to buy these buffoons motor vehicles to the tune of Ksh. 802 million a year, less than Ksh. 200 million shy of a billion Kenyan shillings. That is insane!

William Ruto is an Alleged Criminal

William Ruto was in the ICC after a case was brought against him for crimes against humanity, including the murder of people due to their ethnicity. He's also had a track record of land-grabbing with a good example being land he attempted to grab that belonged to Lang'ata Primary School. The man is comfortable grabbing primary school land, and denying the children of the poor facilities without care as he can afford to take his children to international schools.

How William Ruto Has Allegedly Looted Kenyan Coffers Over Time

Ruto is also an alleged con and he's been linked to numerous corruption cases including that of the Arror and Kimwarer dams. More damning, moreover, he's been linked to an Israeli election interference company made up of contractors dubbed 'Team Jorge' that helped him steal the 2022 elections.

Yes. William Ruto did steal the 2022 election and he used an Israeli company to help him deliver it. Mind you, the Israeli are the same who conjured and now sell the Pegasus Spyware that's been used the world over, to target journalists. No wonder my computer had been hacked a while back! Read more about the Pegasus Spyware below.

The Pegasus Spyware and Its Danger to the Freedom of Press and Dissidents
Pegasus has already inflicted damage as it was recently discovered that governments had used it to spy on members of the press and even other governments including top government leadership.

Does William Ruto Deserve to be Kenya's President?

Now, in your opinion, do you think Mr. Ruto deserves to be a president of a developing nation of 50 million people? I think not. Do you think Mr. Ruto will bring any meaningful development to Kenya? I think not. Another of Azimio's demands is that the government stop the importation and importation of genetically modified organisms, GMOs. These have been known to cause cancer but the president doesn't give a damn. As his deputy president said, Kenya is a company and the corrupt government and its officials are the shareholders.

Maandamano Mondays and The Necessity of the Azimio Protests

Therefore, the Azimio Protests are more than ideal, they are essential. Kenya deserves better and if it takes mass protests for the government to fall in line, so be it! I personally have had enough of this nonsense from a government that seems to have no direction... A government whose ministers spend more time abroad than in the country doing their jobs, all on the country's tab and taxes painstakingly paid by an already overtaxed, underpaid, and oppressed population; that is if they even have jobs to start.

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