Talks team to report to President Ruto, Raila Odinga in 60 days

Kalonzo Musyoka

Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka (left) and National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah during the resumption of the bipartisan talks between Kenya Kwanza Alliance and Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party at Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi on August 14, 2023.

Photo credit: Wilfred Nyangaresi | Nation Media Group

The 10-member bi-partisan team negotiating the 2022 post-election crisis will report to President William Ruto and Opposition leader Raila Odinga within 60 days, according to a motion tabled in Parliament.

The report by the talks team will then be taken to Parliament for approval by MPs. This even as the motion opened the talks to the public by handing the bi-partisan team room to receive views and submissions from Kenyans, professional bodies and other stakeholders.

National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah and his Minority counterpart Opiyo Wandayi yesterday tabled the motion that legally establishes a National Dialogue Committee made up of representatives from the ruling Kenya Kwanza Alliance and the opposition Azimio La Umoja One Coalition.

Today, the National Assembly will debate and subsequently adopt the motion while their Senate counterparts are set to be called for a special sitting on Tuesday next week to allow the National Dialogue Committee to begin handling the substantive agenda for the talks. Nation has established that there was a lot of pressure from the international community for the rival camps to resolve the standoff.

“The Houses of Parliament resolves that the two Houses of Parliament establish a National Dialogue Committee consisting of 10 members to represent the Kenya Kwanza Alliance, a coalition constituting the majority party ...  and Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party, a coalition forming the minority party,” the motion states. It adds: “That the National Dialogue Committee shall report to the leadership of Kenya Kwanza and Azimio coalitions within 60 days and after that, submit its report to Parliament.”

The decision to anchor the talks in law suggests that the negotiations could come up with recommendations with far-reaching political ramifications.

According to the motion, the National Dialogue Committee will facilitate dialogue and consensus building and recommend appropriate constitutional, legal and policy reforms on issues of concern.

“In the execution of its mandate, the National Dialogue Committee may invite, engage with and consider submissions from stakeholders, collate views from the public and engage experts, professionals and other technical resource persons as necessary,” states the motion.

It has also emerged that former Nigeria President Olusegun Obasanjo will not be physically present in the talks. Mr Obasanjo, who brokered the peace talks during a a face-to-face meeting with President Ruto and Mr Odinga, will only step in to unlock a standoff, according to a member of the team.

“He is the guarantor of the talks but will not be present in those meetings. The talks will be chaired by the two team leaders. He remains on standby and will be stepping in anytime there is a standoff,” said the member who spoke off record.

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

 Azimio wants the high cost of living, audit of the 2022 presidential election results, preventing interference with political parties and outstanding constitutional issues on governance, adequate checks and balances and delimitation of boundaries added to the list.

Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka will lead the Azimio team with Mr Wandayi serving as Deputy Delegation Leader. Other members of the Opposition team are former Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, Nyamira Senator Okong’o Mogeni and Malindi MP Amina Mnyazi.

In Kenya Kwanza, Kimani Ichungw’ah will serve as Delegation Leader with Embu Governor Cecily Mbarire deputising him. Others in the team are Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot, East Africa Legislative Assembly (ELA) member Hassan Omar and Bungoma MP Catherine Wambilianga.

The eight-member technical team formed by the two camps shall support the National Dialogue Committee to review the framework agreement and setting of the agenda for the negotiations.

Kenya Kwanza has High Court Advocate Muthomi Thiankolu, Dr Linda Musumba, a law lecturer and an advocate, lawyer Nick Biketi and law lecturer Dr Duncan Ojwang in its technical team.

Azimio on the other hand has Mr Kioni, university lecturer Dr Adams Oloo, former EALA MP Zein Abubakar and Ms Isabel Githinji.