Nairobi, Kenya, Mar 26-Opposition leader Raila Odinga has dared the Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome to arrest him after issuing a ban on the planned Monday protests.

Moments after the IG outlawed the protests and vowed to take action on anyone taking part in the demonstrations “regardless of your status”, Raila came out saying he should start with him.

“I have you saying that you are going to arrest everyone. I am ready for you. Mr Koome, do not send officers, come face me yourself,” Odinga said at a church service in which he also asked his supporters to turn up for the peaceful demonstrations in Nairobi and other parts of the country.

Odinga has launched demonstrations since last week to force the government to tackle the high cost of living and protest the presidential victory he claims was stolen from him during the August 2022 polls won by President William Ruto.

During last Monday’s protests, several businesses and properties were destroyed or looted in both cities that literally shut for the better part of the day.

The opposition Chief maintained that he will not relent in his quest to fight for justice and the rights of Kenyans.

“Those demonstrations are illegal and we will not allow them to take place,” the IG said, “We are ready as security agencies. Every corner of this country is safe and secure.”

But Odinga has said it is the “business of police officers to protect peaceful demonstrators.”

“I am calling on Kenyans to turn out in large numbers for the peaceful demonstrations. Do not fear the police or the teargas,” Odinga said and blamed the police for disrupting last Monday’s “peaceful” demonstrations.

Similar protests turned violent in Nairobi and Kisumu last week when one person- a student at Maseno University was shot dead.

Koome said the planned protests by Azimio coalition are illegal and police are under firm instructions to disperse them.

“We will not spare anyone,” Koome said, “those demonstrations are illegal and I can assure you that we are not going to allow them to take place.”

He said anyone found with stones and other weapons will be treated as a criminal.

“Let them try because we are ready for them,” he said.

President Ruto has warned against the protests and instead told Odinga he will not engage him in talks, accusing him of destabilizing the country for his own selfish interests like he did in two former regimes that ended up accommodating him.

“Kenyans made their decision during the August 2022 polls, we are done with the polls and all that remains is prepare for development,” he said, “we are not going to engage Raila because he knows he lost and we won.”