Storm after Kenya Kwanza picks Jubilee MP for IEBC talks

Adan Keynan

National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung'wa briefs the media on the Kenya Kwanza team to the bi-partisan talks in Parliament.

Photo credit: PCS

Hours after the Kenya Kwanza leadership in Parliament named the seven members who will take part in bipartisan talks, the Azimio brigade has come out guns blazing, questioning the seriousness of the process.

This is after the government side named Eldas MP Adan Keynan in its team that will meet the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition members on the reconstitution of the electoral commissioners' selection panel.

Mr Keynan was elected on a Jubilee Party ticket under Azimio, but declared support for the government of President William Ruto early this year with a section of Jubilee MPs.

Following the inclusion of his name on the list, the Azimio side claims they are being taken for a ride and that the issues they raised might not be resolved properly.

Among the issues that Azimio leader Raila Odinga has raised is a proposal to amend the Constitution to bar elected leaders from hopping to other parties after the election.

Leading the expression of displeasure was Narok Senator Ledama Olekina who warned that Azimio could be forced to go back to the streets if the government is not serious with the bi-partisan approach.

“The lack of seriousness of the by-partisan deliberation on the Kenya Kwanza part is the straw that broke the camel's back! We are back to the people,” Mr Olekina said.

The senator is among MPs who will represent Azimio as they await the date and venue of the meeting with colleagues from the government side.

Kileleshwa MCA Robert Alai, one of the vocal members of the coalition, also faulted Kenya Kwanza for picking Mr Keynan.

Former Mukurweini MP Kabando Wa Kabando also differed with Kenya Kwnaza on the choice of Mr Keynan.

"President William Ruto is in contravention of the Constitution and the Political Parties Act by raiding Jubilee Party, which is officially in Azimio. How does UDA pick my friend Adan Keynan to represent Kenya Kwanza in the bipartisan committee? Or is it a back-door UhuRuto handshake?" he wondered.

Mr Opiyo Wandayi, the Minority Leader in the National Assembly, also took on the government for the selection of Mr Keynan.

Other members of the team from Kenya Kwanza are Boni Khalwale (Senator, Kakamega), George Murugara (Tharaka MP), Essy Okenyuri (Nominated senator), Mwengi Mutuse (Kibwezi West MP), Lydia Haika (Woman Rep Taita Taveta), and Bomet Senator Hillary Sigei.

The opposition team comprises Nairobi Senator and ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna, Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua, MPs Otiende Amollo (Rarieda), David P’Kosing (Pokot South), Millie Odhiambo (Suba North) and Amina Mnyanzi (Malindi).

On Tuesday, after  Kenya Kwanza held its parliamentary group meeting at State House, National Assembly Majority leader Kimani Ichung’wa said MPs had resolved that the government would resist any attempts by the opposition to force or blackmail them into implementing “failed” policies of the last regime.

“We particularly support the government’s policy of subsidising production rather than consumption and prudent fiscal management within a framework of managed debt levels,” Mr Ichung’wa said.

Later, ODM deputy party leader Wycliffe Oparanya announced that Mr Amollo would lead the opposition team in the talks.