Azimio leaders reaffirm stance on bi-partisan talks

Azimio leader Raila Odinga addressing journalists during Azimio Parliamentary Group Presser

Azimio leader Raila Odinga (centre) addressing journalists during Azimio Parliamentary Group Presser at Kalonzo Command Centre, Nairobi on April 4, 2023.

Photo credit: Bonface Bogita | Nation Media Group

Azimio leaders have reiterated their stance on bipartisan talks with the government, saying they will call for mass action if their terms of reference are not met. 

Following the Azimio Parliamentary Group Meeting held in Athi on Thursday, coalition leader Raila Odinga, who is also the chief of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) outlined the terms of reference as follows: 

  • Recommend measures to lower the cost of Unga
  • Conduct a forensic review of the IEBC servers.
  • Review appointment and dismissal of IEBC commissioners
  • Recommend legal policies to strengthen the electoral systems to entrench a culture of free and fair elections.
  • Review the circumstances that led to the dismissal of Cherera Four and reinstate them.
  • Those members who leave parties to resign and seek fresh mandate

Narc Kenya party leader Martha Karua said it is important to have talks akin to the 2008 National Accord, and for the process to be neutral.

“We don't want an unorthodox process controlled by speakers and legislators who have crossed to the government's side. Let's not try to hide behind Parliament, where the Speaker will decide which side has won,” she said.

We have seen the Speaker unable to make simple rulings even when a party wants to de-whip. Please open the servers and get your full loaf of bread. If you won, have your full loaf. If you lost, give us our full bread.”

Wiper Democratic Movement leader Kalonzo Musyoka noted that they met on the backdrop of a national crisis.

“We must collectively put the interests of the country first. Exercising our rights under Article 37 should not be seen as a crime. Let us not cross other people’s lines. We can't allow the capture of State institutions - the police, Judiciary and Parliament,” he said.

“Don't poach members who don't belong to you and claim that's democracy,” he also said, adding that they will not relent on their terms of reference.

“Hopefully, we shall leave Stoni Athi today with our team of negotiators. If  you come to negotiate please do so with a clean heart. Don't come with a hidden matchet,” he said, warning that any negotiator whose body language depicts a change of loyalty will be replaced.

The Wiper boss also touched on the matter of attacks on journalists, saying the brutality that was witnessed cannot go unchallenged.

Former Defense Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa said they will not give up their push until the cost of living drops. He cited maize flour prices, the cost of electricity and school fees..

Mr Wamalwa added: “We are only out on a commercial break … Unti  the servers are opened, we are not yet there. We don't want a nusu mkate (half a loaf of bread) government.

“Already [Deputy President] Rigathi [Gachagua] says there is a government of shares between himself and the President. We don't want to be there. We just want justice for the people.”

Former Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya said more than 20 parties had come together to form the Azimio coalition.

Mr Oparanya also reiterated the call to open the IEBC’s servers, saying they will not tire until this demand is met.

He further spoke on the violence witnessed during Azimio’s anti-government protests last week, saying Mr Odinga would not have come out alive had his vehicle not been armored.

“A police officer had wanted to stab [Ledama] ole Kina after smashing our car's windscreen,” he claimed without giving proof. “It took the intervention of our driver, a police officer, who brandished his gun for the killer police to run away.”

Jubilee party Secretary-General Jeremiah Kioni said that former President Uhuru Kenyatta remains the Azimio council chairman and that he was expected to attend Thursday’s meeting.