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Ex-Azimio Leader Exposes Cracks In Cancelled Jamhuri Day Event



He believed that the coalition had gone against the ideals that were agreed upon when it was formed

Solomon Kuria, the Chairman of Azimio la Umoja – One Kenya coalition’s Youth League, wrote his resignation letter to party leader Raila Odinga revealing behind-the-scenes events regarding the recent calls for rallies to protest against President William Ruto’s government.

The letter dated Thursday, December 8 saw Kuria accuse the former prime minister of going against the main aim of the formation of the Azimio coalition, which he explained was a culmination of extensive consultations amongst key stakeholders.

He believed that the coalition had gone against the ideals that were agreed upon when it was formed and that he was never consulted over the planned protests against alleged misconduct by the Kenya Kwanza administration.

Kuria noted that the protests went against a commitment by the leadership of Azimio to maintain peace in the country during and after the August elections, whether it eventually lost the elections or not.

Former Azimio youth league chair Solomon Kuria. /FILE

“There was consensus on killing the culture of wastage associated with disputed elections when the resolving of the same was subjected to extra-judicial resolutions. We documented the resolve to only rely on the courts in the event we lost the elections.

“I thank Azimio leadership and Kenya Kwanza leadership for preaching peace before, during and immediately after the elections. The Country quickly settled down and one would be forgiven to imagine elections were held over one year ago,” he stated.

Kuria only got wind of the news of the planned rallies, which he believed were to be in form of protests that were however christened public consultation rallies to avoid tensions. He was surprised that he was not consulted given that he represented the youth, the coalition’s largest demographic.

“It is with much consternation therefore that I received the news that Azimio was planning to hold demonstrations that were then scaled down to what is being called ‘Citizen engagement rallies’. There was even talk of holding parallel Jamhuri Celebrations in Nairobi.

“It is strange that nobody found it necessary to consult or inform me of any of these plans much as I am the representative of the largest constituency of the membership of the Party, youth,” he added.

Kuria explained that he would have disagreed with any plans to hold any demonstrations in the country to keep the youth productive and protect them against potential violence.

Though he praised Azimio for how it carried out the Kamukunji rallies, he accused the top brass of misusing the youth at a time the country is trying very hard to recover from economic shocks brought about by the elections and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We all know that youth are always the casualty in the event these activities become violent. I am aware the rally in Kamukunji was peaceful, however, it is inconceivable how leaders would be happy when youth spend a whole day listening to them two months after a gruelling electioneering period, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic and extremely high cost of living.

“Youth are supposed to be busy working or looking for opportunities not held hostage in unproductive political rallies,” he added, noting that the leaders would have easily used other means to communicate their message to the followers.

Kuria further criticised Azimio for inciting members of the public not to repay the Hustler Fund loans, less than two weeks after the kitty was launched. He thus felt that he needed to resign as the coalition did not honour his values.

“I was equally amazed that Azimio senior leaders would encourage youth to not repay money they have received from the government. A leader worth his salt would appreciate that this is taxpayers’ money that works as a revolving fund and as such only helps change lives when initial beneficiaries repay.

“These and many other reasons make me feel that this Party has chosen a different path from the one that was agreed upon at inception. I can not be a member, leave alone an official of a Political Party that seems to stand for everything I don’t believe in. This letter is to inform you that I have resigned with immediate effect as the Chairman of the Azimio Youth League,” he concluded.

During the coalition’s first rally at Kamukunji Grounds on Wednesday, December 7, Raila compared the Ksh50 billion Hustler Fund to Azimio’s Ksh6,000 social protection fund that was part of his campaign manifesto while noting that the Ksh500 was unsustainable and the 14-day repayment window a fallacy.

Raila Odinga on his way to Kamukunji for the rally on December 7, 2022. /YOUTUBE

“This Hustler Fund that you’re being given Ksh500, what business can you start with it? Then you repay after 14 days…we promised Ksh6,000. Know that what you’re being given is a deposit of the Ksh6,000,” he said.

He however asked members of the public to embrace the government’s loaning scheme, but to treat the money as their own.