The Raila Odinga-led Azimio coalition party yesterday chose Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka to lead the team that will hold talks with Kenya Kwanza. The move comes just a day after the coalition disowned an alleged joint statement released by Kenya Kwanza undersigned by National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah.
“Kenya Kwanza released a one-sided statement signed by Hon. Kimani Ichungwa that they claimed to incorporate our views. We disown the statement by Hon. Ichungwa. Azimio had nothing to do with it. Its contents were those of Kenya Kwanza, their wish list,” former cabinet secretary Peter Munya said in a statement. Munya said that the cost of living, which was not listed among the items of discussion, was Azimio’s priority in the bipartisan talks.
“Our priority for discussion is the escalating cost of living which has only got worse with the lifting of the conservatory order on 2023 Finance Act last week. We want to see actions by President William Ruto’s regime that will lead to the immediate lowering of the cost of living. It is our position that this issue does not require any discussion but policy/action by Kenya Kwanza. But since they won’t do it, lowering the cost of living has to be part of the talks,” Munya said.
Yesterday, Azimio named other members of the delegation including National Assembly Minority Leader James Opiyo Wandayi, Eugene Wamalwa, Nyamira Senator Okong’o Omongeni, and Malindi MP Amina Mnyanzi. Azimio said that each side, Kenya Kwanza and the opposition, should remain free to raise their issues of interest to be discussed in the talks.
“Our position remains that no party to these negotiations can claim a right to determine for the other what to raise and what not to raise. Azimio will respect Kenya Kwanza’s right to bring all its issues to the table. We expect Kenya Kwanza to do the same with our issues,” the statement read in part.
Azimio has already tabled five issues to be discussed including the high cost of living, audit of 2022 elections, bipartisan reconstitution of the electoral commission, inclusivity in national affairs and respect for political parties.
“Azimio is keen on a time-bound program of talks that should take one month beginning August 1, 2023,” the statement added. President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza has not appointed a team to represent them in the deliberations, Azimio has indicated that the talks should begin as soon as possible.