Inside Politics

Azimio meeting to take stand on bipartisan talks

Tuesday, May 30th, 2023 06:20 | By
Azimio meeting to take stand on bipartisan talks
Opposition leader Raila Odinga addresses a past public rally. PHOTO/Print

Opposition leader Raila Odinga is this morning expected to make a pronouncement on the fate of the bipartisan talks during the Azimio la Umoja coalition parliamentary group (PG) meeting in Nairobi.

The meeting, which former President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to attend, will decide whether its members would proceed or abandon the negotiations aimed at ending the standoff between the opposition and the Kenya Kwanza government.

The meeting will also deliberate on the replacement of nominated MP Sabina Chege as the coalition’s Deputy Minority Whip, the controversial Finance Bill 2023 as well as take a stand on the decision of some members to associate with President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza.

During today’s meeting, the MPs will also discuss in-house matters touching on the affairs of the coalition ahead of the resumption of the National Assembly’s sittings next Tuesday.

Leader of Minority in the National Assembly Opiyo Wandayi said their representatives in the bipartisan talks, led by Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo, will brief the PG on the progress made by the negotiating teams.

“We are going to be apprised on the progress of the bipartisan talks, if any. We expect our MPs to canvass freely and robustly in order to come up with resolutions. I expect that the meeting will come up with far reaching recommendations that will have serious ramifications that will not only have an impact on the politics but also on the socio-economic issues affecting this country,” said Wandayi.

The PG comes after talks between Kenya Kwanza team and Azimio la Umoja coalition collapsed last week following hardline positions taken by the two sides on various contentious issues.

While the Kenya Kwanza team accused their colleagues in Azimio side of creating unnecessary roadblocks, the latter gave the government a seven-day ultimatum to accept their demands, failure to which the talks would not resume.

“The Azimio team has been coming up with demands and issuing threats yet we have on several occasions bent our rules and given in to their demands,” said Tharaka MP George Murugara, a co-chair of the talks.

Amollo said it will not be holding any talks with the Kenya Kwanza team members until they heed to their demands.

“Our letter was a notification which does not require a response. The only response we would have wanted is communication by them that they are prepared to concede to our request on the four interim issues, anything else we do not need,” he said.

Jubilee NDC

On the fate of Chege, Wandayi said that they will announce the member who will replace her after she was de-whipped by the coalition for associating with the government. He also said that they will take a firm stand against leaders who fail to toe the party line. On May 4, Azimio MPs stormed out of the National Assembly chambers after Speaker Moses Wetang’ula declined to approve Chege’s removal.

The Speaker instead gave the Minority side 30 days “to put their house in order” and report back to his office after he claimed they only spoke of removal and not a replacement, thereby only partially meeting the requirements of the Standing Order 20A of the National Assembly.

In its National Delegates Convention convened by party leader Uhuru Kenyatta last week, Jubilee removed Chege from the position of Deputy Minority Whip and replaced her with Embakasi West MP Mark Mwenje.

“Every member of a political party within Azimio should adhere to the party position. I want to say here that I will be announcing a replacement for Sabina Chege. We removed her and what we shall be doing is to announce her replacement,” said Wandayi.

Asked whether they will be planning a separate Madaraka Day celebrations, he said that the matter would only be discussed if is brought under any other business (AOB).

On the Finance Bill, Wandayi said that while the coalition had made pronouncements on the matter, they expected their MPs to also take a stand on it before the House resumes.

“Of course, we shall dwell on the matter of the Finance Bill. The coalition has pronounced itself previously but we also want the PG to take a position on this,” he added.

More on Inside Politics