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Raila Junior's post causes online storm after father supports Ruto's youth dialogue

Former PM Raila Odinga has received backlash for supporting Ruto's call for youth dialogue

Raila Odinga with his son Raila Odinga Junior
  • President William Ruto proposes forming a National Multi-Sectoral Forum to address youth issues in Kenya
  • Raila Odinga expresses support for the initiative, calling for dialogue with Kenya’s youth
  • Dialogue to include 150 members and address problems such as unemployment, corruption, public debt

A division in Azimio la Umoja is underway over a proposal by President William Ruto to form a National Multi-Sectoral Forum to address issues raised by Kenya's young people.

Stakeholders from various sectors, including youth organisations, civil society, religious groups, professional bodies, and business communities, have been directed to nominate their representatives by Friday, 12 July.

Azimio leader Raila Odinga on Tuesday expressed support for the initiative, calling for dialogue with Kenya’s youth to shape the future of the country.

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Odinga announced that dialogue is the best way out of the crisis where many young people feel disenfranchised by the government, leading to widespread protests triggered by the Finance Bill 2024.

“We have agreed that we give people an opportunity to be heard, to express themselves, come up with the grievances which are ailing our country today so that a lasting solution can be found,” he said.

President Ruto and Odinga said that the dialogue, which will include 150 members and is scheduled to commence on Monday, 15 July, will help address fundamental problems facing the country such as unemployment, corruption, public debt, and the management of the economy.

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Following the announcement, Raila Junior posted, "Everybody is an individual please! Even people with the same exact names," in reference to public debate about the proposed dialogue.

Many Kenyans took this to mean that Junior was breaking ranks with his father Odinga over the subject.

Martha Karua, who was Raila’s running mate in the hotly contested 2022 presidential election, has distanced herself from the proposed dialogue.

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In a statement, she described the proposal for dialogue as a trap.

“Dialogue can only be meaningful if the players have good faith and are guided by the best interests of the people,” Karua said.

She also urged Kenya’s youth to be careful of politicians who would hijack the push for government accountability.

“I agree with those who say Action Now on the clear and attainable demands of Gen Z to enhance accountability and make the state work for the masses rather than for a handful of elites,” the Narc Kenya party leader stated.

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Former Minister Eugene Wamalwa, who is a principal in Azimio, said, “I am not boarding!”.

Former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka was also absent during the media briefing, despite being part of the signing of the IEBC Bill 2024 moments before.

Kalonzo was present during the signing of the law but was absent when President Ruto and the former PM were making an announcement on the proposed dialogue.

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