Inside Politics

Ruto’s refusal to lower unga prices is a deal breaker for bipartisan talks – Sifuna

Wednesday, April 12th, 2023 09:46 | By
ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna
Nairobi senator Edwin Sifuna. PHOTO/Courtesy

Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna has termed President William Ruto's refusal to lower unga prices as a deal breaker in the proposed bipartisan talks between the opposition and the government.

In a statement on Wednesday, April 12, 2023, Sifuna highlighted three issues among them food prices that could see talks between Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya coalition party and Kenya Kwanza collapse.

"The refusal to do anything to lower the price of Unga is a deal breaker," stated Sifuna.

On Tuesday, the Kenya Kwanza Parliamentary Group ruled out possibilities of lowering food prices, saying the government was focusing more on subsidizing production rather than consumption.

"We particularly support the government’s policy of subsidizing production rather than consumption and prudent fiscal management within a framework of managed debt levels," Kenya Kwanza legislators said in a statement.

Sifuna has also faulted the inclusion of Eldas MP Adan Keynan in the Kenya Kwanza negotiating team, despite belonging to the Jubilee Party which is a member of Azimio.

"In gauging Ruto’s seriousness with the so called bipartisan dialogue, he himself called for three things. The insistence on a purely Parliamentary process is a red flag. The inclusion of Hon. Keynan in his team is absolute bad faith and a slap in the face," added Sifuna.

Azimio question Ruto's motive in bipartisan talks

On Tuesday, April 11, Azimio announced the return of town hall meetings and public rallies, a week after suspending anti-government demonstrations to engage in bipartisan talks with the Kenya Kwanza government.

In a statement issued moments after the Kenya Kwanza team unveiled a seven-member parliamentary team to engage the opposition in bipartisan talks, Azimio Executive Council chair Wycliffe Oparanya said the purpose of the town hall meetings and public barazas is to enable the party explain to the people the next course of action following the suspension of protests.

The coalition is set to hold its first town hall meeting in Nairobi on Thursday, April 13, 2023.

The meeting will be followed by a public rally dubbed People's Baraza at the Kamukunji Grounds on Sunday, April 16, 2023.

"As the negotiators take up their responsibilities, we will embark on a series of direct engagements with members of the public through town hall meetings and public Barazas," Oparanya said.

Ruto's Kenya Kwanza Alliance unveiled a seven-member team to engage in the talks with the Azimio coalition on their behalf.

The members are Keynan (Eldas), Bonnie Khalwale (Kakamega) and George Murugara (Tharaka).

Others are nominated Senator Essie Okenyeri Mwengi Mutuse (Kibwezi West), Lydia Haika (Taita Taveta) and Hillary Sigei (Bomet).

The team will face off against Azimio's parliamentarians who include Amollo, Millie Odhiambo (Suba North) and David Pkosing (Pokot South). Others are Senators Ledama ole Kina (Narok), Edwin Sifuna (Nairobi), Enoch Wambua (Kitui) and Amina Laura Mnyanzi (Malindi).

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