We’ll prove talks skeptics wrong, says Ichung’wah
The National Dialogue Committee yesterday told off politicians critical of the talks between the government and the opposition, saying members will not be distracted by critics.
The team’s co-chair, National Assembly Majority leader Kimani Ichung’wah, said the negative comments by some politicians would not derail the talks.
The technical committee on the national dialogue committee has until Friday to agree on the issues to be discussed before the negotiations between President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza side and Raila Odinga’s Azimio, begin.
Ichung’wah said some negative statements from both allies of President Ruto and Raila do not reflect the position of the dialogue team.
He added that official communication on various issues will come directly from the leadership of the team.
“Undeterred by the scepticism of critics, the committee remains steadfast in its pursuit of upholding the nation’s peace, tranquillity, and stability. We are dedicated to addressing the pertinent issues raised, fostering open dialogue, and seeking viable solutions within the framework of the nation’s fundamental principles,” said Ichung’wah.
He added: “What is being said out there will not determine our discourse. We will ignore all the noise.”
Ichung’wah said the dialogue team had recognized that the nation’s welfare transcends individual interests, adding that the committee was united in its resolve to engage constructively.
The Leader of Majority’s assurance comes amid hostile comments by some politicians who have been rubbishing the talks.
Ruto’s allies, led by his Deputy Rigathi Gachagua, have publicly urged him to ignore the talks and instead focus on delivering on his mandate.
“I called Senator Aaron Cheruiyot four times but he did not answer my call. Later he told me that he was in the dialogue meeting. That dialogue you are bragging about will end. Important dialogue is about fertilizer, talks about farming,” Gachagua said recently.
Parliamentary Service Commission member, former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama, castigated the talks, saying Raila should retire from active politics.
“Raila is supposed to be treated like Donald Trump (former US President who is facing charges of trying to overturn his loss in the 2020 election). If it were upon me, I would tell the President to abandon the talks. I would like to tell the President to take responsibility and stop being intimidated,” said Muthama.
Ichung’wah, who is the leader of Kenya Kwanza delegation in the talks, said leaders speaking outside the framework of the talks were only airing their opinions.
Addressing the press at the Bomas of Kenya after the team met yesterday, Ichung’wah said the National Assembly had already passed the motion to have the talks anchored in law.
He said that the motion had been forwarded to the Senate which will be handling the matter on Tuesday next week.
“We have been given 60 days to give a report to Parliament over our deliberations with the days starting to count once the Senate discusses the motion to have the talks anchored in law since the National Assembly has already dispensed with the matter and we are good to go,” said Ichung’wah.
His Minority counterpart Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja) said the joint technical committees will engage from Tuesday to Thursday before all team meets on Friday to review what will have been agreed on.
Wandayi explained the absence of Kalonzo Musyoka – who is the leader of the Azimio delegation – and Senate Majority Leader Aaron Cheruiyot at yesterday’s meeting, saying they had travelled outside the country.
“We have tasked our technical teams to meet from Tuesday to Thursday before our joint teams gather here on Friday to review the progress made so far. We believe that the Senate will expedite the anchoring of the talks in law just like the National Assembly has done,” said Wandayi.
The Kalonzo-Ichung’wah-led team has also tasked the technical teams to frame the agenda items for consideration by the committee and review the talks framework agreement to incorporate the negotiating teams’ resolutions.
During yesterday’s meeting, other than Ichung’wah, Kenya Kwanza’s team had Embu Governor Cecily Mbarire, East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) MP Hassan Omar and Bungoma Woman Rep Catherine Wambilianga.
Apart from Wandayi, former Defense Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, Nyamira Senator Okong’o Omogeni and Malindi MP Amina Mnyazi, were present on the Azimio side.