Ruto, Raila talks team prioritise IEBC reconstitution, 2022 polls audit

Kalonzo Musyoka

Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka (left) and National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah during the signing of the bipartisan talks framework agreement on August 29,2023.

Photo credit: Wildred Nyangaresi | Nation Media Group

President William Ruto and opposition leader Raila Odinga's dialogue teams have agreed to prioritise the restructuring of the electoral body and the audit of the results of the 2022 presidential election as their top agenda items when the teams resume ongoing talks after a two-week hiatus.

This will be followed by the cost of living, the enactment of a law on political party affiliation, the entrenchment of funds including the National Government Constituency Development Fund, the establishment of the Senate Oversight Fund, and finally the establishment of the offices of the opposition leaders and the Prime Minister's Cabinet Secretary.

Members of the National Dialogue Committee (NADCO) who met at the Bomas of Kenya on Friday September 1 said the reconstitution of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) was an urgent issue that needed to be addressed on a priority basis.

During the meeting, Majority Leader Kimani Ichung'wah said the committee had already written a letter to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) selection panel and the multi-sectoral working group on the implementation of the two-thirds gender rule to inform them that some of the issues being addressed by the groups would be addressed by the committee.

"The committee had adopted the list of prioritised issues and we all agreed that the reconstitution of the IEBC is an urgent issue that we need to address. We will receive the memoranda on the issue and we will invite the selection panel as one of the stakeholders," said Mr Ichung'wah.

But even as Mr Ichung'wah said the reconstitution of the IEBC was a priority issue, his co-chairman and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka corrected him, saying the priority issue was the electoral reforms, which included the audit of the 2022 presidential election.

 "My colleague (Ichung'wah) said the priority issue on the list is IEBC but the correct wording is that it is electoral justice. If you look at it, the issue of reconstituting the IEBC comes after. We will look at the issue of electoral justice given the urgency of the matter and we are ready for that process," Mr Musyoka said.

The committee is also expected to take a two-week break, during which the technical and secretariat teams will work to receive memoranda from members of the public on the issues the committee will address. The break is also due to the Climate Change Conference, which is taking place in Nairobi.

Mr Ichung'wah said that the committee will only receive memoranda on issues that are on the negotiating table and instructed that Kenyans who may have memoranda can send them through other channels including Parliament.

Mr Musyoka, however, said Kenyans were welcome to submit memoranda on other issues outside the list, but the committee would only consider memoranda on issues on the list.