Politics

Youth protest Raila's alliance with Ruto, vow to 'drain the swamp'

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Raila has been accused by the country's Gen Z of attempting to hijack their legitimate movement aimed at cleaning up the mess that has plagued the country since independence.

Kenyan youth have blasted veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga, rejecting his views on President William Ruto's plan to include political players in a multi-sectoral dialogue to address issues raised by Kenyans over intense protests against the Finance Bill 2024.

Raila has been accused by the country's Gen Z of attempting to hijack their legitimate movement aimed at cleaning up the mess that has plagued the country since independence. In a strongly worded statement on Tuesday, the youth accused the former premier of siding with their oppressor, against whom they have protested.

"You do not speak for us... We will not be silenced. We will drain the swamp with you in it. This is not business as usual," the statement read in part.

Although Raila had been advised by the youth to stay at home and watch as they dealt with the government in Nairobi—a move he acknowledged and supported on X—he was caught in the crossfire on Tuesday when he took the stage alongside President William Ruto at KICC.

What shocked many was Raila referring to Ruto as "my brother" during his address, sparking a heated and tense discussion on social media, with some of Raila's allies distancing themselves from the situation.

Raila's ally and former running mate during the 2022 presidential election, Martha Karua, posted on X moments after the former premier announced his plan to unite with the government, calling it a trap.

"Dialogue can only be meaningful if the players have good faith and are guided by the best interests of the people. This is a trap, period," Karua said.

The uniting of the political elite, according to Gen Zs, was clearly threatened by the intense peaceful protests that have erupted and challenged Ruto's presidency. Gen Z argues that the political class is fighting for survival. "If you see the opposition merging with the ruling party, they know we've suffocated them," an account named Kenyan Says posted on X.

"This is not about Ruto, Raila Odinga, Gachagua, Uhuru, or Kalonzo Musyoka. It's not just about IEBC. It's about our future!" the post added.

The youth, who have made Raila trend online, have threatened to write to the African Union to oppose his candidacy for the African Union Commission.

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