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Ruto Tries to Calm Investors After Unrest

FILE: A protester throws rocks towards police in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya, Monday, March 20, 2023. Hundreds of opposition supporters have taken to the streets since the presidential vote in angry protests demanding that new President William Ruto resign from office.

NAIROBI - Kenya President William Ruto on Wednesday vowed to rein in "impunity" and sought to reassure investors in the wake of violent opposition protests against his government.

"I want to give my commitment that the business and investment environment in Kenya is secure and conducive on a sustainable basis," President Ruto said at an event at the country's bourse.

"Through the rule of law, the government will take robust measures to honour and respect the rights of all and demonstrate that no one is above the law by decisively combating impunity, lawlessness and disorder," he added.

Hundreds of people have taken to the streets in the capital Nairobi and other parts of Kenya in response to opposition leader Raila Odinga's call for a day of action over the country's severe cost of living crisis.

On Monday, police fired tear gas and water cannon against demonstrators - some of whom were hurling rocks and burning tyres in street battles against officers in full riot gear.

More than 200 people were arrested and a student was killed in western Kenya.

Monday's protest proved costly, with Nairobi losing more than half its daily revenue as people kept away from the central business district, the city's governor Johnson Sakaja said.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua said the demonstrations cost Kenya $15 million.

Odinga, who narrowly lost last year's presidential election to Ruto, has vowed that the rallies will go ahead.

He has called for further protests to be held on Mondays and Thursdays from next week, with his party officials on Wednesday notifying the police of their plans.

Police had on Sunday said the demonstrations in Nairobi were banned because a request for authorization had not been made in time.