President Ruto endorses national dialogue team’s recommendations

Sunday, November 26th, 2023 16:29 | By
President Ruto endorses national dialogue team's recommendations
President William Ruto during a past function. PHOTO/@HusseinMohamedg/X

President William Ruto has endorsed the National Dialogue Committee's recommendations unveiled on Saturday, November 25.

Addressing congregants at the Priesthood Fellowship in Kahawa West, Roysambu Constituency on Sunday, November 26, the Head of State committed to implementing the report in full even as he urged Kenyans to unite to move Kenya forward.

“You’ve heard that those in charge of the dialogue are done with that work, and we applaud them for finishing that task, now let us join hands and take Kenya forward,” Ruto remarked.

President Ruto hailed the 10-member committee for their recommendations on austerity measures the government should embrace to reduce national expenditure.

NADCO, co-chaired by Kalonzo Musyoka of the Azimio la Umoja - One Kenya coalition and Kimani Ichung'wah of Kenya Kwanza, on Saturday, recommended that all arms of government reduce their travel budget by 50 per cent and that the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) review and reduce Daily Subsistence Allowances for State and Public Officers by 30 per cent.

He noted that the government had already slashed the budget for foreign travel by 50 per cent, further suggesting an increase in the proposed reduction of subsistence allowances for state and public officers from 30 to 50 per cent.

“They have given recommendations all those recommendations are okay. Where they said we lower government spending by 50%, I have done that already. Those calling for the budget cuts to be reduced by 30%, I suggest that they increase it to 50% for Kenya to move forward. We must learn to live within our means,” he added.

President Ruto further called on Parliament to prioritise proposals set to be tabled before the House so that the country can move forward.

“All the other things that they have suggested, it is now up to you MPs to debate on the issue and get done with it so as to continue working together without hate and division,” Ruto stated.

NADCO was established four months ago to resolve a political crisis occasioned by street demonstrations called by Azimio leader Raila Odinga to protest against the high cost of living, electoral injustices and the reconstitution of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) among other issues.

While unveiling the report on Saturday night, NADCO co-chairs said their recommendations would help restore national unity after last year's divisive elections.

"We are proud to Unveil The National Dialogue Committee’s Report which has been electronically submitted to the Principals representing The Kenya Kwanza and Azimio La Umoja Leadership.

"It is our firm belief that The Report has addressed the issues that formed the basis of the talks and the recommendations therein will progressively heal our wounds, foster togetherness, promote national unity restore our national pride, and usher us to greater prosperity," Kalonzo stated.

In its report, the committee said it had reached a consensus on the issue of audit of the 2022 presidential election results. The committee recommended an evaluation of last year's election with a view to improving the country's electoral processes.

"Evaluation of elections are important in ensuring that voting systems operate accurately, that election officials comply with laws, regulations and internal policies, identifying weaknesses and set benchmarks for future performance. In addition, it helps build confidence in the election administration process and credibility of the results and the electoral management body," the committee said in its report.

NADCO recommended formation of a parliamentary panel to evaluate the 2022 electoral process.

“Within twenty-one days of the adoption of this report by Parliament, the leadership of the majority and minority coalitions shall appoint a panel to evaluate the 2022 electoral process,” the committee said, adding that the majority and minority parties or coalition shall each nominate three experts to lead the process.

NADCO recommended the reconstitution of the IEBC selection panel to be increased to nine members from the seven which was proposed by President William Ruto.

Similarly, the bipartisan talks team recommended that legal reforms that have been passed 18 months before the general elections become effective in the next election.

Further, the committee recommended the increase of timelines within which the Supreme Court will hear and determine a petition challenging presidential elections from 14 to 21 days.

Similarly, the committee recommended the establishment of State Offices such as the office of the leader of the opposition and the office of the Prime Cabinet Secretary.

NADCO stated that the prime minister will be nominated and appointed by the president upon approval by the National Assembly.

In matters of cost of living, NADCO indicated that the committee was unable to reach a consensus on the reduction of VAT of fuel from 16 per cent to 8 per cent, and scrapping of the housing levy.

"The committee was unable to reach a consensus on a number of other proposals on the matter of cost of living, including the reduction of VAT on fuel from 16% to 8%, and scrapping of the housing levy, the twin issues in the Finance Act 2023," the report said.

However, the team recommended four measures to address the cost of living including cutting government expenditure.

The committee also recommended that the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum in liaison with the national Treasury reduce the road maintenance levy and the anti-adulteration levy by Ksh5 and Ksh3 per litre respectively.

Similarly, the committee recommended that the National Government finalize the transfer of all devolved functions and provide for the concomitant resources to the county governments.

Further, NADCO recommended that the parliament amends the Constitution to provide for the equitable share to the County Governments not to be less than 20 per cent of all revenue collected by the National Government from the current 15 per cent.

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