‘You are wrong’- Karua denies reports of looming walkout from Azimio
Azimio la Umoja - One Kenya coalition co-principal Martha Karua has denied media reports of a looming walkout from the political outfit as key leaders read from different scripts regarding the recently unveiled National Dialogue Committee (NADCO) report.
Speculations of Karua's imminent exit from the coalition surfaced following a series of statements contradicting the position of Azimio leader Raila Odinga.
However, reacting to a story published in one of the local dailies on Monday, December 4 Karua said nothing could be further from the truth.
"You are wrong on this," she wrote on X (formally Twitter).
The Narc Kenya leader on Sunday, December 3, termed the NADCO report as troubling, problematic and unacceptable days after Raila appeared to endorse the report despite admitting that it was imperfect and unfinished.
The former presidential running mate added that she would give a detailed statement this week, casting a shadow of doubt on the unity of the coalition.
“I find the NADCO report troubling, problematic and unacceptable. A more detailed statement loading in the coming week,” Karua wrote.
Karua and former Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugine Wamalwa had distanced themselves from the report unveiled on Saturday, November 25 and called for immediate actions to lower the cost of living that has seen prices of basic commodities shoot through the roof.
“Any purported agreement that does not immediately impact on the cost of living, electoral justice and respect for multiparty democracy is a fraud on the people and must be rejected,” Karua said a day after the report was unveiled.
Wamalwa, a member of the 10-member NADCO committee, said he did not append his signature on the report.
“I didn’t and will not append my signature to the NADCO report and have not and will not accept any sitting allowance for the same because I believe we did not do justice to the single most important issue to Kenyans; the cost of living,” Wamalwa said while speaking at a church service in Busia County.
Karua's Narc Kenya and Eugine Wamalwa's Democratic Action Party of Kenya (DAP-K) are some of the key parties that joined forces to form the Azimio coalition ahead of last year's presidential election.
Karua, Wamalwa skip Azimio presser
The two leaders were conspicuously missing at a recent press conference called by Raila to give the coalition's official statement on the report.
During the event, Raila allayed fears of divisions in the party, saying the two leaders skipped the presser due to other pressing engagements.
“No, there is no disagreement at all on this issue,” Raila said on Wednesday.
“Hon Eugene was here earlier on in the meeting of the summit, he only had to leave because he had a pressing matter he had to deal with but he approved the report as presented by the team. He had not been in the country when this report was being signed but he is going to append his signature on the report.”
The opposition chief further revealed that Karua was out of the country.
“We talked to her earlier today, she (Karua) is in Hargeisa in Somaliland. She is travelling and she will be back around 1 am this morning (Thursday) so she has no issue at all,” he remarked.
During the press conference, the former prime minister said the coalition had taken note of the imperfections of the committee’s report, but acknowledged it as a crucial starting point.
“The document the team has come up with is, ultimately, imperfect and unfinished. But it is a beginning,” he stated.
Raila expressed reservations about the report for failing to propose tangible ways to reduce the cost of living.
He, nonetheless, blamed it on Kenya Kwanza's side, accusing them of being reluctant to address the issue.
"We have agreed to disagree on the most important matter to us. We made what believed were reasonable proposals on how to address the rising cost of living. But the government side flatly refused terming it their exclusive business and further arguing that they got the mandate of Kenyans to execute their Kenya Kwanza economic agenda," Raila stated.
"We will be engaging Kenyans further in the coming weeks as we must because the pain of the cost of living is really unbearable."
Raila, however, commended NADCO for its recommendations on electoral justice which entails audit of the 2022 election process, restructuring and reconstitution of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and an increase of the timelines for the Supreme Court to hear and determine a presidential election petition from 14 to 21 days.
The 10-member committee co-chaired by Kalonzo Musyoka of Azimio and Kimani Ichung'wah of Kenya Kwanza Alliance was established to broker a truce between the opposition and government following a protracted dispute over the 2022 presidential election results and the cost of living.