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September 25, 2018

Wako, Oburu among 10 Atwoli wants to pull Kenya out of stalemate

NASA supporters during demonstrations against IEBC along Muindi Mbingu street in Nairobi, October 11, 2017. /JACK OWUOR
NASA supporters during demonstrations against IEBC along Muindi Mbingu street in Nairobi, October 11, 2017. /JACK OWUOR

Francis Atwoli has proposed a 10-member council of political veterans he says should urgently meet and discuss Kenya's deadlock.

The COTU secretary general noted the 10 are from various outfits and will be critical to ensuring the country does not take the 2007/8 post-election violence route.

At least 1,300 people were killed and more than 600,000 internally displaced after the disputed race between Opposition leader Raila Odinga and retired president Mwai Kibaki.

Rights group Haki Africa earlier said Kenya needs a neutral actor such as the international community to convene the dialogue and ensure all parties are engaged and brought to the table.

AUC chair Moussa Mahamat said they are ready to help.

Read: Kenya needs international arbiter to end deadlock - Haki Africa

Also read: AUC ready to help Kenya end political stalemate - Mahamat

Atwoli proposed people including Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji, former AG Amos Wako, Raila's brother Oburu Oginga and former State House controller Abraham Kiptanui.

Others are Hassan ole Kamwaro, Rashid Sajjad, former Senator Zipporah Kittony, Phoebe Asiyo, Philip Masinde and former Kitui Senator David Musila.

Atwoli noted Kenya is in a tough season because of "selfish politicians who have negated the spirit of constitutionalism".

He said those in the political class have put their own interests ahead of those they represent and that in Parliament, they engage in debates "that please their masters".

"I want to remind these politicians that dialogue is not necessarily about power-sharing. All leaders should sit and deliberate on the way forward," he told a press conference in Nairobi on Thursday.

"Let them take a break and reflect on occurrences of 2007/8 and see if that is the route they wish we take as a country."

Regarding NASA demonstrations, the workers' union boss said effects on the economy should be analysed critically.

He noted the coalition's declaration of daily demonstrations from Monday will leave businesses significantly affected.

"We have already seen a number of shops close and many cancellations in business tenders. Many investors are turning away because there is no guarantee importers will pay following the political tension."

Atwoli said the large number of unemployed youths may also be a recipe for chaos as they have nothing to lose.

"The handlers of these two big political outfits must advise them to tone down the political rhetoric. The current chest-thumping being displayed by both sides is not good for this nation. Unless we are careful someone will have to be held accountable."

He added politicians must never view an election as a matter of life and death for the sake of a free, fair and credible election.

Raila, who is NASA's candidate, pulled out of the October 26 repeat race against President Uhuru Kenyatta of the Jubilee Party.

Also read: No constitutional crisis in Kenya, delegation tells EU assembly


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