President William Ruto has received major backlash from Azimio-affiliated leaders over his remarks on using the sword and power granted to him on dissenters of his affordable housing project.
In a controversial address on Saturday, the Head of State had claimed that the sword, handed to him as a sign of power, was not for use in chopping vegetables and vowed to use it appropriately.
“Those people who are going to court to block us from undertaking the affordable housing project are the enemies of Kenya. I want to assure you that you gave me the powers, and I will deal with them. All I need is your prayers. I was already given the sword. Do you think it’s for cutting vegetables? It’s for dealing with all these criminals,” Ruto stated.
Kileleshwa MCA Robert Alai, however, read malice in the Head of State’s statement and asked the President to restrain from threatening people going to court to oppose his projects.
Senior Counsel Otiende Amollo in court
He further added that Kenya was not an autocracy and citizens had the right to challenge decisions made by the government.
“Threatening Kenyans who are using the democratic routes to challenge you is treason and you deserve to be denied the chance to hold the sword further,” Alai lamented.
Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo also criticised the President, noting that the threat was not only directed to parties and lawyers that filed the court petitions but also at the courts handling the cases.
“So, overlooked in Bunge and now threatened with beheading for litigating the legality of the housing tax! This is how far we have sunk!” Otiende stated.
Jubilee’s Deputy organizing secretary Pauline Njoroge concurred and reminded Kenyans of former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s concerns that the sword would land in the wrong hands. Uhuru backed Raila Odinga for President during the 2022 campaigns.
“It is extremely distasteful for the President to continually issue threats against Kenyans whose only crime is availing themselves the constitutionally provided mechanisms to fight the violation of their rights,” she shared
Outside the political circles, Law Society of Kenya (LSK) President Eric Theuri affirmed that the society will not be intimidated from challenging any government decisions that offend the constitution.
Theuri faulted Ruto for using the sword as an instrument of oppression instead of upholding the constitution.
“The Constitution of Kenya is our sword & we will swing it against impunity,” he stated.
Notably, LSK had joined forces with Busia Senator Okiya Omtatah in opposing the implementation of the Finance Act 2023. Specifically, Omtatah challenged the introduction of the 1.5 per cent housing levy on all salaried Kenyans.
The high court on November 28, 2023, ruled the affordable housing levy unconstitutional as it imposed taxes on salaried Kenyans excluding the informal sector.
A photo of Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi