Ruto, Raila dialogue teams slam Gachagua over ‘inconsequential talks’ comment

Rigathi Gachagua

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua.

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi I Nation Media Group

The National Dialogue Committee has slammed Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua over his comments that the ongoing dialogue between Kenya Kwanza and the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition is futile and meaningless to Kenyans.

In a move that is likely to put Mr Gachagua on a collision course with President William Ruto, leaders led by Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and United Democratic Alliance (UDA) leader Cecily Mbarire described Mr Gachagua's comments as "unfortunate" and urged Kenyans to disregard his sentiments.

According to Ms Mbarire, who co-chaired the dialogue team on behalf of Majority Leader Kimani Ichungwa, the Kenya Kwanza team involved in the talks was sent there by President William Ruto and has clear instructions from the Head of State on what should be achieved through the talks.

Kalonzo, Mbarire during bipartisan talks

Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Embu Governor Cecily Mbarire addressing journalists during the bipartisan talks between Kenya Kwanza and Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition at Bomas of Kenya Nairobi on August 25, 2023. 

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

"As the Kenya Kwanza team, I want to assure you that we are fully committed to these talks. We are here for a purpose and we have clear instructions on what to do. I therefore urge every Kenyan not to take anything you hear outside these talks very seriously because there is a purpose we want to achieve through these talks," Ms Mbarire said in reference to Mr Gachagua.

Mr Musyoka also said the team discussed Mr Gachagua's comments during the meeting and expressed concern that a national leader like Mr Gachagua would make such comments when the ongoing talks were for the sake of uniting the country.

"We did indeed discuss the Deputy President's comments during our meeting. Everybody knows that we came here and we are negotiating in good faith. This is a very important national exercise and every national leader should be properly guided and support it because it is about the future of this country," said Mr Musyoka.

The leaders' reaction comes after Mr Gachagua expressed disdain for the ongoing dialogue between the two teams, saying nothing meaningful would come out of it.

Speaking at a funeral service in Machakos this week, Mr Gachagua said his comments were made in his capacity as Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya.  He had also called on the Kamba community to shun Mr Musyoka for misleading the community.

"Nothing will come out of the talks they are sending Kalonzo Musyoka to. I say this as the Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya," said Mr Gachagua.

The team also said that both teams have agreed on a framework agreement which is expected to be signed by both teams on Wednesday after the Senate passes a motion in support of the ongoing talks. The motion has already been submitted to the National Assembly.

The dialogue will also have a 60-day timeline to complete the ongoing dialogue.

"We have reached a framework agreement which we will sign next week. We have also agreed on a 60-day work plan, which has been approved by the committee. We will start working next week. The motion will be tabled in the Senate on Tuesday and we expect to sign the framework agreement for the team on Wednesday," said Ms Mbarire.

Mr Kalonzo said the team would now work as a united front after agreeing on a common agenda for the dialogue. They are expected to start meeting various stakeholders after next week to discuss the various issues that the committee will be discussing.