- Raila appears to have climbed down on his demand for National Accord model.
- He said talks should be conducted within 30 days.
Azimio leader Raila Odinga has unveiled a seven-member technical committee to lead Azimio in the bipartisan talks with government.
He listed 10 irreducible minimums that he insisted must form part of the deliberations.
In what appeared to be a climbdown from his earlier demand for National Accord-like negotiations, Raila opted for a pure parliamentary team to push Azimio's interests in the talks.
Azimio will be represented by Senate Minority Whip Ledama Olekina, ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna and Senate deputy minority leader Enoch Wambua.
Others in the team are MPs Otiende Amollo (Rarieda), David PKosing (Pokot South), Millie Odhiambo (Suba North) and Amina Mnyanzi (Malindi).
The team was picked during an extra-ordinary Azimio la Umoja parliamentary group meeting in Stoni Athi, Machakos county.
“We agree that a balanced process spearheaded by Members of Parliament from both sides and backed by experts is an appropriate way to proceed. The end product will then be presented to Parliament for approval,” Raila said.
Raila, who passed apologies of retired President Uhuru Kenyatta, however vowed to get back to the streets should it emerge that there is no meaningful engagement.
“I bring apologies from our chairman Uhuru Kenyatta. He wanted to come but he was unable, but he said he will support whatever resolution we will make today,” Raila told the legislators.
The team is expected to join the government side in a yet to be formed ad-hoc committee that will among other things discuss the recruitment of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chiefs.
“Should there be no meaningful engagements we shall mobilise Kenyans again under Article 37,” Raila said.
Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka who read the meeting’s resolution called for genuine talks devoid of chest-thumping insisting they are ready for engagement.
“We have absolute faith with the team and ask every member of the team to give them necessary support,” Kalonzo said.
“When we see your body language is changing we shall recall you unapologetically because we want nothing but the truth.”
He told the team of seven to constantly consult the leadership over the issues noting "we want nothing but the best for this nation."
Narc Kenya boss Martha Karua, too, called for support to the team which she insisted must pursue the truth especially around the outcome of August 9, 2022 presidential election.
“We wish negotiation could involve all of us so that all of us can deliberate, let us believe in ourselves and our collective knowledge. Let us not be divided on who is sent to the negotiation committee,” Karua said.
“What is the use of going to elections if we cannot know how people voted? Reforms will be meaningless without first knowing about the server.”
“If you are not in the technical committee, support the team to the end,” added Jubilee secretary general Jeremiah Kioni.
Speaking during opposition retreat in Machakos, Raila laid bare a 10 demands he insists must be part of the deliberations during the one-month talks.
“We go into these negotiations holding the firm belief that our cause is just, our intentions are pure and our goal is patriotic. We go into these talks convinced that some issues, in particular lowering the price of food, is urgent, can’t wait and does not even need talks,” Raila said.
“Opening of the servers is not negotiable.”
According to the ODM boss, the negotiation must prioritise the issue of lowering cost of unga, fuel, electricity and school fees.
“Conduct a review and forensic audit of the servers used by the IEBC before, during, and after the 2022 presidential election,” Raila said.
“Review the appointment and dismissal of IEBC commissioners, including their tenure of office, and recommend institutional, policy, legal and constitutional mechanisms, restructuring and reforms of the IEBC.”
The former Prime Minister further wants the team to consider restructuring of IEBC by devolving structures to the counties and look into whether there is need for permanent commissioners to man the devolved IEBC at the counties.
Azimio also wants the ad-hoc team to recommend legal, policy, and institutional reforms to strengthen and improve the electoral system and processes to entrench a culture of free, fair and transparent elections.
“Review and recommend changes in the law that will entrench party discipline by requiring MPs who cross party lines after election to seek a fresh mandate from the electorate and to allow parties to replace nominated MPs who cross party lines,” Raila said.
Azimio has suffered mass realignments soon after elections with many lawmakers elected on the ticket switching allegiance to the ruling Kenya Kwanza administration.
Also in the Azimio demands include enactment of legislation to address electoral, governance and economic gaps identified during the inquiry for consideration by the House as appropriate.
Kanu secretary general George Wainaina while moving an apology from the party leader Gideon Moi urged the Azimio negotiators not to hesitate to amend any law that might prove to be a hindrance to the deliberations or its end product.
“For whatever reason that you are doing any negotiation and the law stands between what you are negotiating please let us change that law,” Wainaina said.
Raila also dismissed claims that his suggestion for National Accord model of negotiation was a clever way to negotiate his way to government.
-Edited by SKanyara