- "At all times, we will retain the right to call on the people to take steps that we deem necessary to force the government to lower the cost of living."
- Raila added that it was not for lack of trying on their part that the committee was unable to agree on the issue of cost of living.
The Opposition will seek other ways to press the government to lower the cost of living as the talks team failed to address it, Azimio leader Raila Odinga has said. https://rb.gy/sg85if
The Opposition will seek other ways to press the government to lower the cost of living as the talks team failed to address it, Azimio leader Raila Odinga has said.
In a statement, Raila said the other ways will include but not be limited to consultations with the people.
“At all times, we will retain the right to call on the people to take steps that we deem necessary to force the government to lower the cost of living,” he said.
Raila said Azimio made it clear that they would support the document ensuing from the talks but would treat the hardline on the cost of living as the beginning of another phase of the struggle.
Azimio called off deadly street demonstrations to give bipartisan talks by the National Dialogue Committee a chance.
The mandate of the committee was to facilitate dialogue and consensus building and recommend appropriate constitutional, legal and policy reforms on issues of concern to the people of Kenya.
Raila said Azimio remains deeply disappointed that the committee was not able to agree on the one fundamental issue on which Kenyans are united; the high cost of living.
He noted that the two teams were unable to agree on the need and the means to reduce the cost of living.
“This is why we have described the document the Committee presented as imperfect and unfinished,” he stated.
Raila added that it was not for lack of trying on their part that the committee was unable to agree on the issue of cost of living.
“Kenyans will recall that at the beginning of the talks, the Kenya Kwanza administration was adamant that the cost of living would never be taken to the discussion table, let alone being discussed,” he said.
He recalled that Kenya Kwanza Kenya Kwanza had insisted that the only issues it was ready to discuss were; the reconstitution of the IEBC, implementation of the Two-Thirds Gender Rule, entrenchment of Constituency Development Fund, establishment and the entrenchment of the Office of the Leader of the Opposition and embedment of the Office of Prime Cabinet Secretary.
Raila said through persistence and insistence, Azimio forced the cost of living onto the table.
“We made what believed were reasonable proposals on how to address the rising cost of living. But the government side flatly refused terming it their exclusive business and further arguing that they got the mandate of Kenyans to execute their Kenya Kwanza economic agenda,” Raila said.
He said Azimio will be engaging Kenyans in the coming weeks because the pain of the cost of living is unbearable.
“In the coming weeks the majority of Kenyans will be carrying the burden of increased school fees besides the many crises in the education sector,” he stated.
Raila added that the Azimio delegation pushed for the complete overhaul of the Finance Act 2023, which had come with 'harsh' taxation measures that made and continue to make life unbearable to an overwhelming majority of Kenyans.
“At no expense to the government, we deployed our team of economists to recommend to the administration measures which, if adopted, would immediately bring the cost of living down,” he stated.
He said Azimio asked the government to reduce travel budgets by
50 per cent, cut down on daily subsistence allowances for State and Public
Officers by 30 per cent and reduce the road maintenance levy and the anti-adulteration levy by Sh5 and Sh3 per litre respectively.
He added that Azimio further asked the government to reduce VAT on fuel from 16 per cent to 8 per cent and called on Kenya Kwanza to scrap the housing levy or at least make it voluntary.