Weary Kenyans hope for end to protests as Ruto offers to meet Odinga

Tired Kenyans expressed cautious optimism regarding an imminent resolution to political unrest on Wednesday, as President William Ruto announced his willingness to meet with opposition leader Raila Odinga “anytime” after months of anti-government protests.

Since March, when veteran politician Raila Odinga called on Kenyans to take to the streets, his Azimio alliance has organized nine days of protests against the government.

Some of these demonstrations have occasionally resulted in incidents of looting and deadly clashes with the police.

In a social media post addressing the opposition leader, Ruto conveyed his readiness to meet Odinga, expressing this sentiment late on Tuesday.

Ruto posted on Twitter, now rebranded as ‘X,’ stating, “As you have always known, I am available to meet one on one with you anytime at your convenience.”

Odinga, who has been urging Kenyans to participate in parades and vigils on Wednesday to honor the anti-government protesters killed during demonstrations, did not immediately respond to the offer.

In April and May, Odinga called off the demonstrations as Ruto agreed to engage in dialogue. However, the talks eventually broke down, leading to several demonstrations being held this month.

The violence has triggered outrage among rights groups, with campaigners condemning the police for using tear gas and live rounds to disperse stone-throwing protesters.

According to official figures, twenty people have been reported killed, although Azimio claims that the death toll is higher, with at least 50 people having lost their lives.

Odinga asserts that last year’s presidential election was “stolen” from him and has held the government responsible for a worsening cost-of-living crisis.

On Tuesday, he accused the authorities of resorting to “unprecedented police brutality.”

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