By Spy Uganda Correspondent
Homa Bay traders and residents have lauded President William Ruto and Azimio leader Raila Odinga for agreeing to dialogue over Kenyan problems.
Business activities are slowly picking up in most parts of the county after Raila agreed to suspend their weekly anti-government protests.
Odinga announced Sunday he was calling off a protest on Monday and would embark on dialogue with the government after two weeks of chaotic street demonstrations.
“We stand down our demonstrations for Monday, that is tomorrow, April 3, 2023. But in doing so, we want to emphasise that the right to assemble, to demonstrate, petition, and speak are iron-clad as provided for in our constitution,” Odinga told reporters in an evening press conference.
Demonstrations were taking place twice a week, Monday and Thursday.
Homa Bay Giant Traders Association through its chairman Jack Nyambega and residents Polycarp Otieno and Michael Kojo said the move by the two leaders indicated that they have the interest of Kenyans at heart.
Nyambega said traders used to record huge losses as the destruction of properties and vandalism was taking place during demos.
He said the unnecessary roadblocks put by protesting youths also interfered with the transportation of goods.
“The ceasefire called upon by President Ruto and Raila is commendable. Kenyan traders can go about their normal businesses because the environment is conducive,” Nyambega said.
Mary Auma said she had to dispose of her fish after they went bad.
“Rioting youths started demonstrations before I could sell my fresh fish. The demos went on for long and it forced me to discard them because they went bad,” Auma said.
Otieno said they are happy with the leaders because the demos were taking Kenya in the wrong direction economically.
He urged both Raila and President Ruto not to disagree again because many Kenyans support the steps they made last Sunday.
“We’re happy with the stoppage of anti-government protests. The one week Raila issued for talks is enough to get way forward of addressing the teething problems,” Otieno said.
Homa Bay-based human rights defender Michael Kojo said President Ruto and Raila realized the benefit of addressing issues through negotiation.
He urged both parties to include experts and technocrats in the discussion to help in addressing the high cost of living.
“I urge the leaders to implement what is in the Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission report to solve most problems bedeviling Kenya,” Kojo said.