The little progress being made in the planned bipartisan talks to resolve the ongoing national political standoff is frustrating. In fact, it is disappointing that though the government and the opposition agree on the necessity to hold such negotiations, mutual mistrust still persists.
Each group suspects that the other is being insincere in its commitment to the parley. Opposition leader Raila Odinga has thus issued a seven-day ultimatum to President William Ruto on the negotiations. For its part, the Kenyan Kwanza Alliance team accuses its Azimio coalition counterpart of erecting unnecessary roadblocks and looking for excuses to scuttle the initiative.
The resumption of Parliament on Tuesday will also mark the end of the ultimatum that Azimio has given to the Ruto team to come up with proposals on how to continue with the bipartisan discussions. The two key issues being raised are the reconstitution of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and an audit of the agency’s servers to confirm the August 9, 2022, presidential election results.
Azimio MPs have been asked to reject President Ruto’s tax proposals, which the coalition finds punitive and fears are likely to amount to double taxation. They are, therefore, demanding the immediate lowering of the cost of living and a stop to undermining opposition parties as the irreducible minimums for talks.
It is getting uglier with talk about secession, which would threaten national sovereignty and unity. The political rivals should resolve their differences with their eyes on forging national unity.
There have also been murmurs about recent appointments to senior government and parastatal jobs that appear to favour only a few communities. Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has ruffled feathers by talking about rewarding the government’s so-called “shareholders”.
It is in the true interest of the entire country that the differences are resolved. A resumption of the chaos that resulted in several deaths and the destruction of property must be averted. The country has remained peaceful since President Ruto appealed to Azimio leader Odinga to call off anti-government demonstrations for talks.
We once again appeal to the leaders to soften their hardline stances for the sake of peace and unity.