Azimio invites Kenya Kwanza to bipartisan talks meeting
The Azimio la Umoja - One Kenya coalition's bipartisan talks delegation has convened a joint meeting with the Kenya Kwanza government to begin the much-awaited dialogue aimed at resolving a recent political crisis that saw the opposition call for nationwide street protests.
In a letter seen by People Daily Digital, Kalonzo Musyoka, the opposition coalition's 5-member team leader, invited the Kenya Kwanza counterparts to the inaugural meeting set to be held at Serena Hotel in Nairobi on Monday, August 7, 2023, at 11 am.
The Wiper party leader cited the "anxiety of the people" and "urgency of issues to be addressed" for the decision to call for the meeting.
"We have taken this step because we believe time is of the essence. While a lot of hard work will be needed to resolve the issues at hand, we believe a speedy start and a time-bound program is necessary to put the nation at ease," Kalonzo said in the letter addressed to National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung'wah, who doubles up as the team leader for the Kenya Kwanza delegation.
The former Vice President said it's Azimio's wish that the dialogue process should come to an end at the close of August.
"As a party, we believe that if all concerned show the courage and commitment, there is now a real chance that before the 1st of September, Kenya will be reunited," he added.
He affirmed Azimio's commitment to dialogue in good faith to settle the current stand-off on the cost of living and other leadership issues fronted by the opposition.
"We remain committed to negotiating in good faith on the basis of a plan to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the country's problems through dialogue. Additionally, we attach utmost significance to the issues at hand. The formation of our delegation to the talks was therefore informed by the weight we attach to the issues," he stated.
At the same time, Kalonzo insisted that the cost of living remains Azimio's priority in the talks.
Other issues are audit of the 2022 Presidential Election Results, restructuring and reconstitution of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and related matters, measures to prevent interference with political parties, and outstanding constitutional matters (governance issues, adequate checks and balances and questions of boundaries delimitation).
He noted that the opposition respects issues listed by Kenya Kwanza for talks in previous statements.
Ichung'wah had earlier indicated that the Kenya Kwanza team was under instructions to engage the opposition on a five-point agenda previously agreed upon, excluding the cost of living.
The issues are the reconstitution of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), implementation of 2/3 gender rule, entrenchment of Constituency Development Fund (CDF), establishment and the entrenchment of the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, and embedment of the Office of Prime Cabinet Secretary.
The two sides agreed to form a 10-member committee to steer the talks last week following a private meeting between Azimio leader Raila Odinga and President William Ruto.
The talks will be facilitated by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.