Raila Odinga, who lost to Ruto in August's poll, has urged
nationwide protests as he attempts to harness dissatisfaction
with the president.
The discontented include some of those who voted for Ruto and
feel he has not not delivered on pledges to help the country’s
forgotten "hustlers," or working class Kenyans.
Police officers in riot gear fired tear gas at hundreds of
rock-throwing protesters in the capital Nairobi's vast Kibera
slum, who chanted: "Ruto must go."
They also used tear gas to disperse demonstrators trying to
gather in the Central Business District, from where Odinga has
called for a march toward the president's State House residence,
Reuters reporters said.
In the western city of Kisumu, an Odinga stronghold, police
fired barrages of tear gas in the direction of protesters who
had started fires in the road, footage on Citizen TV showed.
At least four members of parliament were arrested during
protests in Nairobi, including the minority leaders of the
National Assembly and Senate, Odinga's spokesman, Dennis Onyango,
Nairobi police chief Adamson Bungei said he would have details
about the arrests later in the day.
Despite Ruto's promises to bring down living costs since taking
power in September, inflation has remained high in East Africa's
economic powerhouse, rising to 9.2% in February.
Ruto has said his government is laying the foundations of a
healthier economy, including by cutting reliance on borrowing.
Odinga, who has lost five presidential elections, has cast the
demonstration as an opportunity to protest the August vote,
which he says was tainted by fraud.
He challenged the results in the Supreme Court last year, but
the court affirmed Ruto's win and there was little of the
violence that marred elections in 2007 and 2017.
(Reporting by Ayenat Mersie, Humphrey Malalo and Thomas Mukoya;
Writing by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Aaron Ross and Barbara
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