Raila – Ruto talks: Kenya Kwanza names technical team

Kalonzo Musyoka

Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka (left) and National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah shake hands during the start of talks between the government and the Opposition at the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi on August 9, 2023.

Photo credit: Wilfred Nyangaresi | Nation Media Group

Kenya Kwanza Alliance has appointed four people to its technical team in the post-election crisis negotiations with the opposition Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition.

The ruling alliance has appointed High Court advocate Muthomi Thiankolu, law lecturer and advocate Dr Linda Musumba, lawyer Nick Biketi and law lecturer Dr Duncan Ojwang.

Dr Thiankolu served as joint secretary in the collapsed 14-member bipartisan team alongside lawyer Paul Mwangi of Azimio. Nick Biketi previously served as legal adviser to the Amani National Congress (ANC) and Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi.

The technical team was announced by National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung'wa, who is also leading the Kenya Kwanza delegation to the talks aimed at resolving the 2022 post-election crisis.

Azimio had named Jubilee secretary-general Jeremiah Kioni, Adams Oloo, Zein Abubakar and Isabel Githinji to its technical team ahead of the talks, which are due to begin at the Bomas of Kenya on Monday, August 14.

Representatives of the two teams formed by President William Ruto and opposition leader Raila Odinga had agreed to form a technical team to iron out their differences on the agenda for the negotiations.

Mr Ichung'wa said the appointment was in line with the agreement reached during the warring camps' opening meeting at the Bomas of Kenya on Wednesday.

The technical teams will assist their respective delegations during the talks, which were initiated by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.

"This team will play a pivotal role in supporting our delegation throughout the ongoing dialogue," Mr Ichung'wa said in a statement to newsrooms.

"Their expertise will be invaluable in shaping the dialogue. Kenya Kwanza remains firmly committed to an open and productive dialogue and reiterates that we will approach the talks in the utmost good faith and with a firm commitment to our Constitution and the laws of Kenya," he said.

The negotiations will also be supported by a secretariat drawn from the Parliament.

The agenda for the meeting has been a major sticking point.

Kenya Kwanza had listed the reconstitution of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the implementation of the two-thirds gender rule, the entrenchment of the Constituency Development Fund, the creation of the office of the Leader of the Opposition and the entrenchment of the office of the Prime Cabinet Secretary in the constitution.

Azimio wants the list to include the high cost of living, verification of the results of the 2022 presidential election, prevention of interference in political parties and outstanding constitutional issues on governance, adequate checks and balances and delimitation of boundaries.

The Kenya Kwanza delegation led by Mr Ichung'wa includes Senate Majority Leader Aaron Cheruiyot, Embu Governor Cecily Mbarire, East African Legislative Assembly representative Hassan Omar and Bungoma MP Catherine Wambilianga.

The opposition team, led by Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, includes former Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi, Malindi MP Amina Mnyazi and Nyamira Senator Okongó O'Mogeni.