Inside Politics

Cracks emerge as talks fail to kick off

Tuesday, September 12th, 2023 05:10 | By
Cracks emerge as talks fail to kick off
From l-r-Hassan Omar of the EA legislative Assembly, Nyamira senator Okong’o Omogeni, minority leader Opiyo Wandayi and majority leader Kimani Ichungwa leave Bomas of Kenya after a recent Bipartisan talks meeting . PHOTO/Print

The National Dialogue Committee (NADCO) bipartisan talks seem to be headed for cracks after a scheduled meeting yesterday failed to take place.

This is after what sources told People Daily was an explicit instruction from one of the top Kenya Kwanza leaders that they should not talk about the audit of the August 2022 polls.

People Daily  has established that before the one-week recess to allow members of the team to attend the Africa Climate Summit (ACS), the negotiators had resolved to start with issue no.2 –Electoral Justice and related matters which is among the key issues in the harmonised draft for talks.

In what appears to be the beginning of a protracted battle between Kenya Kwanza and Azimio, the audit of the 2022 polls is a hot potato that insiders of KK are not ready to entertain.

Related matters

Inside Electoral Justice and related matters comprised of restructuring and reconstitution of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Boundaries delimitation and audit of the August 2022 elections. “Before the recess, the team had directed the technical teams to unbundle the memorandum received and see if there is any document touching on Electoral justice and related issues and then present a report before the negotiators. However, this did not happen,” said a source who sought anonymity.

The source went on: “Kenya Kwanza technical team seems to be getting instructions from somewhere that they can only talk about restructuring and reconstitution of IEBC and boundaries delimitation.”

The development comes after Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua opposed the push to audit results of the August 2022 presidential elections charging that the dialogue team lacks a constitutional mandate to audit the 2022 elections.

Speaking during an interdenominational church service at Laare stadium in Meru County on Sunday, the country’s second-in-command said that the matter was settled by the Supreme Court and there was no need to have the matter re-opened.

“Your Excellency you know I and millions of your supporters were against talks with these Azimio people but when you decided we talk we don’t argue with you. But we don’t agree with agenda number one which is seeking to audit the 2022 general election,” said Gachagua.

He went on: “Those people have no capacity. There is no constitutional provision for anybody to audit a general election. The audit was done by the Supreme Court and a decision was made and you were declared validly elected and sworn in as the president of Kenya.

Botched meeting

According to Gachagua, they cannot allow an agenda to discuss audit of the general election, adding that if anybody has a doubt, then it is not NADCO to handle the matter.

“That (audit) your Excellency we don’t agree with it and we would like to ask that agenda be dropped from the talks. That agenda should be dropped from the talks.”

Yesterday, in agenda scheduled for the botched meeting and seen by People Daily, NADCO had listed consideration of reports from the Technical teams and secretariat, progress report on receipt of memorandum and report on the progress of the Donor roundtable and funding of the operations of NADCO.

And apart from that the team had also listed stakeholder engagement, unbundling and negation of issues which include need of audit of the August 2022 polls and matters that require approval by the committee.

“Kenya Kwanza technical team that was supposed to meet with Azimio technical team to unbundle the memorandum did not come and therefore were not ready for the negotiations.

The meeting could not proceed,” said the source.

Although the members arrived at Bomas to resume the bipartisan talks following the legal backing through the passage of a motion establishing the 10-member team, the meeting did not take place.

Wiper leader and Azimio co-chair Kalonzo Musyoka disclosed that the team has received Memorandum from various organisations that have been following the progress of the talks.

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