Azimio lists new demands as talks enter crucial stage

Written by on 20 September 2023

The Azimio la Umoja coalition was yesterday planning to table fresh demands to the National Dialogue Committee as the talks enter a make-or-break stage.

This came as the committee co-chaired by Azimio Principal Kalonzo Musyoka and National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah extended the timelines for the submission of memorandum for another one week before it starts hearing oral submissions from key stakeholders and other Kenyans.

Sources told People Daily that Azimio is planning to present a list of issues including addressing the cost of living, interference on political parties and preservation of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) 2022 presidential election materials.

In addition, Azimio is said to have listed harassment of its leaders and supporters by the police and the demand that politically motivated prosecutions against its leaders and supporters are terminated.

“We feel that we need to address some issues as interim measures before we go into substantive issues agreed on. It will be pointless to go into talks about cost of living yet the government keeps on increasing cost of fuel and ultimately the cost of living,” said the source.

The source further divulged that with only 40 days remaining for the team to submit its report, the government is yet to release funds for the talks.

Yesterday, Kalonzo said that the team will meet on Thursday to agree on issues of actual engagement.

“There are issues we have agreed on but there are others we are yet to strike a common ground. We have agreed on the reconstitution of the IEBC but we have not agreed how,” said Kalonzo.

According to him, the team had agreed to look at the cost of living as an interim measure, saying they empathise with the people.

Ichung’wah said that the committee had started the most difficult work of the dialogue.

“We have considered reports of the technical teams and we have issues of both convergence and divergence,” said Ichung’wah.

People Daily has established that both Kenya Kwanza and Azimio have agreed that there is need to make IEBC functional as per the Constitution including filling vacancies in the offices of chairperson and commissioners.

Framed issues

They have, however, not agreed on whether there should be an overall review of the framework that governs the electoral process.

Kenya Kwanza argues that restructuring and reconstitution of the IEBC should be limited to filling vacancies, while Azimio holds that there should be an overall review of the framework that governs the electoral process including the constitutional, legal, policy and administrative arrangements.

In addition, Azimio argues that the overall framework should address the preparations of elections, holding of elections, declaration of results, dispute resolution, election offenses, observation, monitoring and evaluation of results.

In a document seen by People Daily on Harmonized Unbundling of the framed issues, Kenya Kwanza maintains that the issue of the 2022 presidential election is not an issue, given the scrutiny and the ruling of the Supreme Court.

“The IEBC has a statutory mandate to audit its processes for administrative improvement,” reads part of Kenya Kwanza’s proposal.

However, Azimio holds that there is a need for an independent forensic audit of the 2022 presidential election, adding that the evaluation should be done in accordance with the Constitution.

On the enquiries into the interference with electoral processes in 2022, both Kenya Kwanza and Azimio agree that there is need for a public inquiry into the attempts by State functionaries to interfere with the declaration of the 2022 presidential election results.

Azimio also says there is a need to establish the fate of the four commissioners who left office, particularly on matters regarding their tenure and compensation.

On lowering the cost of living, Kenya Kwanza has told Azimio that it has comprehensive policies to address the issue.

But Azimio states that it will table a paper on lowering the cost of living and other Article 43 issues and expects the proposals to be considered in good faith.

“The Finance Act, 2023 should be repealed in order for the two coalitions to agree on how to emancipate Kenyans from the high cost of living including overtaxation,” Azimio states in its proposals.

Prime Minister

On the fidelity to Political Parties/Coalitions and the law on multiparty democracy, Kenya Kwanza welcomes proposals from Azimio on improving fidelity to political parties/coalitions and the law on multiparty democracy, while Azimio and its constituent parties argue that it should be allowed to de-whip its Members of Parliament without obstruction from the offices of the Speakers.

“The Speakers should respect the choice of the Minority Whip from time to time chosen by the Minority Party/Coalition. Members of Parliament who promote the ideology of a party other than the one whose ticket they were elected on should go through a by-election,” Azimio argues.

Azimio further argues that the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties should respect and implement the resolution made by the Jubilee Party National Delegates Convention on May 23, 2023, adding that cases filed against the Jubilee Party at the High Court and the Political Parties Tribunal should be withdrawn by consent.

On the establishment and Entrenchment of State Offices, Kenya Kwanza has asked Azimio to support the establishment and entrenchment the office of the Leader of the Official Opposition outside Parliament and the entrenchment of the office of the Prime Cabinet Secretary.

“Azimio supports the creation and entrenchment of the office of the Leader of the Official Opposition within a parliamentary system of Government. Azimio supports the creation and entrenchment of the office of the Prime Minister and Two Deputies within a parliamentary system of Government,” Azimio argues.

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