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Julius Malema: ODM Responds to EFF Leader’s Warning to Raila

Orange Democratic Movement party has responded to South African opposition leader Julius Malema. On Saturday, he told off Raila, his Kenyan counterpart, for ‘disrupting’ the country’s peace through the anti-government protests.

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Malema was speaking at a rally marking the 10th anniversary of the Economic Freedom Fighters Party (EFF). He stated that President William Ruto was rightly and democratically elected during the elections in 2022. Furthermore, he mentioned that Raila was using Kenyans to cause instability in the country.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema during the EFF’s 10th anniversary at FNB Stadium on 29 July 2023 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images / Frennie Shivambu)

“The president, William Ruto was democratically elected. I will not allow you (Raila) to use the people of Kenya to destabilise the peace of Kenya,” Malema said.

ODM released a statement on Sunday through Edwin Sifuna, ODM secretary general issuing a response to the speech by Julius Malema. He pointed out that Malema was ignorant of Kenya’s political scene and called him a victim of the Kenya Kwanza administration’s propaganda.

” If he was seized with the facts, he would know that Kenya is largely a dictatorship falsely basking under the sun of democracy, in which nearly all elections since 2007 have been fraudulent, and where the wrong president has been sworn in each time,” said Sifuna.

He went ahead to call out Malema by stating that he (Malema) is unaware of the nation’s socio-political fault lines. That he assumes his approach to fighting injustices in South Africa can be replicated in Kenya. He drew a parallel between the EFF and ODM and mentioned that the two parties were fighting against government oppression.

Edwin Sifuna further mentioned that the protests were against ‘obscenely’ high taxes, the rising cost of living and the government’s refusal to listen to the people.

” I have no doubt that if Malema was Kenyan, his red army would have joined us in their numbers on the streets, similar to what they recently did in South Africa,” he said.

According to Edwin Sifuna, Malema is lucky to live in a country where post-apartheid presidents have come from the ranks of liberators. Citing the examples of Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa.

“If Malema lived in a nation perennially led by collaborators and former home guards, thieves and liars, who not only steal elections at will but routinely send police to shoot unarmed civilians in a re-enaction of South Africa’s own Sharpeville Massacre of 1960 or the Marikana Massacre of 2012, he would hold different views.”

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The secretary-general then invited Malema to visit Kenya and experience the challenges Kenyans face firsthand. According to Sifuna, this would be the only way for him to understand that they are fighting for the same things he does.

Raila Odinga to the left and Edwin Sifuna to the right. File/Courtesy

Last year after President William Ruto won the elections, Malema wrote a congratulatory message to him (Ruto). He then told Raila Odinga to accept defeat and restrain all his supporters.

Part of the demands from Azimio Coalition is the reopening of the election servers which would allegedly reveal election rigging. The protests being held have been poking at the Kenya Kwanza administration, with the opposition largely referring to it as an ‘illegitimate’ government.

Julius Malema’s statement as well as ODM’s response comes after the two leaders, Raila and Ruto, agreed to restart the bipartisan talks. These talks will be mediated by the former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo.

Read Also: Raila and Ruto agree to Dialogue Facilitated by Nigerian President.

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